Republicans have had a number of responses to the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. One of the responses has been to take advantage of the word “tax” as used to describe the mandate in the affordable care act. The first reason they are in trouble is that Mitt Romney’s campaign refuses to cooperate with this rhetoric. Since Romney initiated a plan in Massachusetts that is almost identical to the affordable care act, the “tax” meme would hit him as hard as it does President Obama. Here is a Romney spokesman delivering the bad news to Republicans:
The second reason Republicans are screwed in the health care debate is that they greatly exaggerated how much of a tax increase the Affordable Care Act would cause. Even if you call it a tax, instead of being the greatest tax increase ever, it is way smaller even than two of the tax increases during Reagan’s term. See the chart here.
Republican governors have responded to the Supreme Court ruling by saying they will opt out of Medicaid as a way of killing the effectability of the Affordable Care Act. This leads to a third reason Republicans are screwed. These Republican governors are finding themselves at odds with the Health Care Community in their various states because of the tremendous burden refusing that money would cause. (link) Ed Schultz explains why here:
Speaker of the House John Boehner has suggested that a counter-plan by Republicans would not bar insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. (link)
This leads to a fourth reason Republicans are screwed, which is that they are trying to cut things that are popular even with Republicans. Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” (link) Upsetting one’s base is never a good idea in politics.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has suggested that universal coverage should not be one of the goals of health care reform. (link) Reason number five Republicans are screwed in the health care debate is that even Chris Wallace is obviously dumbfounded by this suggestion. If even a Fox News icon refuses to put lipstick on your suggested Republican policy pig, you are in deep doo-doo. Video here:
McConnell has also said “I don’t think there is any bigger issue in the fall election except for the general effect of the economy.” (link) This leads to reason number six Republicans are screwed in the health care debate. New Republic articles convincingly show, based on several detailed investigations, that the net economic effect of the Affordable Care Act will probably be positive. (link, link)
The seventh reason Republicans are screwed in the health care debate is that the best Republican ideas are already taken and included in the Affordable Care Act. Here is what Mark Pauly, the Republican who is credited with originating the mandate idea, had to say about the inclusion of Republican ideas and the options that are left (link):
I have mixed feelings about the mechanics of the current bill. Our idea was to have tax credits and very little additional government control over insurance markets, and the legislation has an awful lot of that. I believe you could achieve almost the same reduction of the uninsured with the subsidies and without the mandate. But CBO says that you leave about 40 percent of the uninsured population without coverage in that scenario. If we want to close that gap, then either we have to have a mandate or make insurance free for everyone and run by the government.