Why the Republican Party cannot allow healthcare reform to work
Why does the Republican Party fight so hard to destroy the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Some progressives and centrists might still wondering why the healthcare law remains the target of conservative attacks and why there has been dozens of attempts to repeal and defund it. Many believe it is ideology, and I would agree that conservatives are ideologically opposed to healthcare reforms. However there is a very important element that we need to look at; party politics.
Yes conservatives have staked it as an ideological goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but why does it compel Republicans in Congress to vote over 40 times to repeal or defund healthcare reform? Especially now, on the eve of the health insurance exchange opening, why are Republicans still making healthcare reform an issue? Obviously, because they have to make sure the law fails.
Why are Republicans obsessed to see the law fail? Because they voted so many times to repeal it. The Republican Party has likely made a huge and long lasting political blunder. When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, immediately after taking the House, Republicans rammed through bill after bill trying derail healthcare reform.
The problem was, as many of them probably knew, their votes were nothing but symbolic. There was no way the repeals could get by the Senate or the president.
The Republicans in Congress voted time after time to repeal healthcare reform because they calculated that the law was unpopular enough for them to win the 2012 election and ultimately repeal the law. Here’s the problem; Mitt Romney and the Republicans lost the 2012 elections.
Perhaps Republicans thought that by 2013, Obama would no longer be in office and the Senate would have ultimately been won. The Republican Party gambled everything on being anti-Obamacare to win an election. Having lost that election, they now are stuck with the platform they set up. The Republican Party simply can’t shift gears.
One reason why the Republicans can’t retract is because their hyped hysteria towards healthcare reform created a permanent dislike of the law among their base. Because the party lied and exploited the issue, their base has ultimately embraced the hysteria and made it a standard ideal for conservatives. It is something that the Republican Party cannot disown, simply because their base won’t allow them to.
Another reason why the party can’t change its tune is because of the political ramifications this will have in the next election cycle. If the Affordable Care Act is allowed to take full effect and work, then Republicans will ultimately be stuck with a track record of voting against a popular law forty plus times. Remember, not a single Republican in Congress voted for the ACA, and don’t think for a second that Democrats wouldn’t love to use that during election cycles.
If the Affordable Care Act becomes popular, then Republicans will have almost nothing to say when the question is asked “why did you vote against it?” It basically would become the equivalent of a Congressmen having voted against Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid. Imagine an entire party having voted against those programs.
Honestly, now is the time to really hammer away at Republicans over this issue. If they truly want to shut down the government over letting people get cheaper healthcare, then have at it. It’s worth noting, the ACA will still be fully funded if the government shuts down. An election is next year and if Democrats are serious about retaking the House they need to utilize this gift.
Once people get to know the reforms and see how they can benefit, then they will ultimately see how wrong the Republican Party was for fighting it. That is if the Democratic Party can take full advantage of the situation. That’s how politics works, unfortunately.