Tea Party Senator Mike Lee inadvertently proved that Republicans are only concerned about sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and in the meanwhile don't worry about the big F.U. they are giving to the 30+million looking forward to affordable and decent health insurance coverage.
In a lengthy GOP-friendly interview with Lee on Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace pointed out that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that Obamacare would provide health insurance coverage to an additional 30-33 million Americans by 2016. But the CBO also found that a Republican plan would only add coverage for an additional 3 million. Wallace asked, “Senator Lee, for all the talk about delay and defunding Obamacare, you guys do not have a plan that takes care of those millions of people who are now uninsured.”
Lee first tried to distract by changing the subject. He said, “First of all, that same entity, the Congressional Budget Office also found that 10 years from now, we will still have 31 million uninsured in America. Now, we were promised that this law, Obamacare would take of that.”
To his credit, Wallace pressed, saying, “It would take care of tens of millions of people.”
Lee waffled again. This time, he revealed that he thinks covering 30+ million more Americans is just not worth it. He said, “It would, perhaps, and we also know that as we go into that, that would come at the cost of many, many jobs. It would come at a cost of many people paying much higher health care premiums.”
Wallace again pushed. “But, but… Specific issue, you don’t have a plan that would cover, if not all uninsured, tens of millions.”
Lee replied, “We do have a number of plans that Republicans have submitted. I’ve submitted one in connection with my Saving the American Dream plan last year. The House Republicans study committee has recently introduced another plan. There are a lot of other plans out there that would increase affordability and portability of health insurance, making it more possible for more people to be able to afford health insurance and make sure they can carry it with them from state to state and job to job, creating interstate competition so that more people can afford it.”
In other words, no, there is no plan. Lee's own Saving The Dream plan, which he adopted from the Heritage Foundation merely provides tax credits for people purchasing insurance and, basically, privatizes Medicaid. And even if there is a credible alternative, why isn't he out there touting it instead of doing everything he can to just shut down government in order to sabotage the plan that does exist for those additional millions of Americans?
The exchange about coverage comes near the end, at about 11:45 in the video below.
The GOP goal for this has always been to completely get rid of the ACA and thus fulfill their prediction of making President Obama appear to be a failure in the eyes of history. They’ve tried multiple times to repeal it completely, they’ve campaigned against it for office, they’ve run it up the legal system to try to get the Supreme Court to repeal it for them. None of those tactics have worked, so far.
So what do they do today? They threaten to hold up the country’s budget and shut everything down unless they can retroactively get their way again. Which they know isn’t going to happen. But what they could do is the O’Reilly idea – “let’s postpone the mandate and eliminate that tax and now we’ll have a compromise.” Right. What that means is that the GOP succeeds in partly defunding the ACA by removing the device tax – so that the GOP can campaign in 2014 about how expensive the ACA is and shouldn’t we get rid of it… And it means that with a full year delay and the GOP making the ACA as unpleasant as possible, the GOP could play this game again and delay the ACA into 2015. Which gives them the room to campaign against the ACA in a midterm election they’re more likely to win seats, and if they get a majority of the Senate, they can outright repeal the whole thing.
And if you pay attention to the tactics, that’s the endgame. Even people who have principled issues with the ACA acknowledge that they can be addressed with amendments and modifications. But the GOP doesn’t have a principled issue with the ACA – they simply want to get rid of it because it’s a signature of the Obama Presidency – something they’d like to erase or smear as much as they possibly can. So the way the President and the Democrats deal with the current issue will depend on whether they can head off the political chess moves the GOP are making.