Republicans treading in dangerous waters with the 'Keep Your Plan Act'
I wrote about this measure, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton a couple of weeks ago. Basically, it says that if you buy insurance before December 31, 2013, you can keep it - for at least a year.
Similar bills have been introduced in the Senate. But there is danger for the GOP to embrace any kind of fix for Obamacare. The adage, "You fix it, you own it" (at least in part) comes to mind. And while the measure will no doubt be popular with the public, the Republicans should consider what it might mean if they take away a major issue for the 2014 mid terms and put them in the position of supporting repeal of a law they have tried to fix.
After their costly political strategy to defund ObamaCare, GOP lawmakers are more willing to support measures that will repair the president's signature healthcare law, political science professor Jack Pitney said.
"Republicans took a look at the polls. They finally realized that defunding ObamaCare was unpopular, but a measure like this [is] very popular. They realized that, despite all the brave talk, that the shutdown did not work to their advantage and now they are trying to get on the right side of public opinion," he said.
An attempt earlier this year to revamp ObamaCare, however, sparked a rift when GOP leaders attempted to move a bill that would have eliminated a healthcare "slush fund."
Lacking the votes, House GOP leaders subsequently pulled the bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). At the time, conservative members said they weren't interested in tinkering with ObamaCare.
Pitts told The Hill that his GOP colleagues "regret" that decision.
"I think that [GOP House members are] shifting toward targeted fixes, if you want to call it that," the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee chairman said.
Some Republicans believe that with full enactment of the law - and the inability to defund it - the party won't be hurt politically with attempting to solve the problems arising from ObamaCare.
"Before [ObamaCare] went into effect, the only goal is to stop it, now the goal is still stop it, but I don't want to treat people harshly," veteran Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) explained.
The House legislation that is scheduled for a vote this week is sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). More than 100 Republican lawmakers have already endorsed it.
Obama on Thursday admitted on NBC News that he broke the promise he made repeatedly in the lead up to the vote on the Affordable Care Act: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan."
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he said.
Boehner has seized on the apology to challenge Obama to support the GOP bill.
Obama has his own problems if he wants to support the bill. Prior to his non-apology, apology, the president had been touting the expanded coverage of policies Americans could purchase on the exchanges and how it would be so much better if they dropped their "inferior" policies for Obamacare plans.
A flip flop now would only damage his credibility more. And we know how much president Obama loves to concede that he made a mistake. Plus, as Megan McArdle points out, passage of the bill would "create chaos, and may leave the exchanges with a poorer and sicker pool of the folks who couldn't buy insurance before."
The Keep Your Plan bills have bi-partisan support - not suprisingly. Democrats are grasping at it like a drowning man grabbing a lifeline. Whatever the outcome, the GOP better be prepared to explain why they are so determined to destroy Obamacare after working to save it.