It may take a few more elections for Republicans to figure this out, but health care just isn’t a good issue for them.
You can understand why they’re confused.
In 2010, their histrionic “OMG! Death panels!” Obamacare attacks were a small part of a massive landslide victory that owed more to the economy cratering than anything else. And the most successful tactic was going after Democrats for “cutting” Medicare by reducing overpayments in the Medicare Advantage program, reversing a strategy that the left employed successfully for decades.
Four years later, Republicans have two huge problems: They can’t say how they’d replace Obamacare, but they have said how they would ruin Medicare.
After taking the House in 2011, Republicans elected with a mandate to protect Medicare passed a budget from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would gut the program and pass massive costs on to seniors by turning the program into mostly privatized “voucher” system. In 2013, Ryan proposed similar cuts that would remake America’s health care system for seniors, along with the same reforms of Medicare Advantage that they ran against in 2010, in an effort to endorse a plan that would balance the budget in 10 years.
So what are Republicans doing in 2014, as they’re supposed to be laser-focused on what a disaster Obamacare is?
A new memo from House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says the GOP will focus on cuts to Medicare Advantage.
The only problem?
— Jesse Lee (@jesseclee44) February 21, 2014
Nearly every Republican in the House and Senate voted for Ryan’s 2013 budget that includes the same reforms they’re now decrying, as White House staffer Jesse Lee pointed out using nearly a dozen specific examples in his Twitter feed.
Lee also notes that premiums in Advantage are down and enrollment is up since Democrats reformed the program, the exact opposite of what Republicans predicted.
But you can understand the bind Republicans find themselves in. Despite predictions of mass panic and destruction, they’re having great difficulty finding any actual stories that illustrate how terrible they claim the law is. In some cases, they’ve turned to actors. And often their “horror” stories sound more like success stories.