House GOP: Let’s back off and let ObamaCare speak for itself

posted at 12:01 pm on November 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Napoleon once said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” House Republicans have decided to follow that advice, often reiterated by John Boehner, according to National Journal’s Tim Alberta and Billy House.  Rather than launch a public-relations attack on ObamaCare, they’re going to let it speak for itself and head home for the recess:

Amid the drip-drip-drip of problems surrounding the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans appear to be seriously considering the notion that the best course may be to pipe down and allow Obamacare supporters to continue bleeding.

“To put it in context, we should just try to get out of our own damn way for now,” said one House GOP leadership aide.

House members left Washington on Thursday and are out this week, giving lawmakers extended time in their districts for constituent services. The timing is perfect for House Republican leaders, who have grown wary of distracting the public from Obamacare’s wobbly rollout with GOP attacks on the law.

The strategy is a stark contrast to the bombastic tone Republicans struck fighting the law to the point of a government shutdown, and then beyond. And, according to some lawmakers, there was discussion among House members about cancelling the break and staying in Washington to continue hammering the health care law.

But House leaders dismissed that idea, feeling confident that the best thing they can do is step back, be quiet, and let Americans watch Obamacare’s supporters contend with a faulty website, rising premiums, and an avalanche of policy cancellations.

Essentially, top Republicans believe the negative headlines surrounding the law are doing more damage to the Obamacare brand than any hearing they can conduct or press conference they can stage. The problems speak for themselves, they argue, and Republicans risk overplaying their hand with vocal criticism.

When they return, Darrell Issa still plans to conduct an investigation into the debacle through the Oversight Committee, but that will be to get people on the record and prepare for future policy battles.  The strategy now is to stop stepping on the national news stories that erupt every day, sometimes several times a day, detailing the dishonesty and incompetence from the White House that created the Healthcare.gov debacle, and to keep people focused on the horror stories emerging from the Obama administration’s manipulations of the health-insurance market.

The Associated Press has a brand-news story today on sticker shock in the individual markets, for instance:

The Griffins are among millions of people nationwide who buy individual insurance policies and are receiving notices that those policies are being discontinued because they don’t meet the higher benefit requirements of the new law.

They can buy different policies directly from insurers for 2014 or sign up for plans on state insurance exchanges. While lower-income people could see lower costs because of government subsidies, many in the middle class may get rude awakenings when they access the websites and realize they’ll have to pay significantly more.

Those not eligible for subsidies generally receive more comprehensive coverage than they had under their soon-to-be-canceled policies, but they’ll have to pay a lot more.

Because of the higher cost, the Griffins are considering paying the federal penalty – about $100 or 1 percent of income next year – rather than buying health insurance. They say they are healthy and don’t typically run up large health care costs. Dean Griffin said that will be cheaper because it’s unlikely they will get past the nearly $13,000 deductible for the coverage to kick in. …

His company pays about $100 monthly for his basic health plan. He said he’ll now have to pay $600 monthly for a mid-tier silver plan on the state exchange. The family policy also covers his 8-year-old son. Even though the federal government is contributing a $500 subsidy, he said the $600 he’s left to pay is too high. He’s considering the penalty.

“I feel like they’re forcing me to do something that I don’t want to do or need to do,” Davis, 40, said.

Meanwhile, a Stage 4 cancer patient writes in the Wall Street Journal that ObamaCare is forcing her to drop the doctors who have kept her alive.  Edie Littlefield Sundby lives in California, and until this year had a policy from United Healthcare that had never given her any coverage problems.  Thanks to the mandates of ObamaCare, United is pulling out of the individual market in California, and her options don’t include keeping her specialists:

You would think it would be simple to find a health-exchange plan that allows me, living in San Diego, to continue to see my primary oncologist at Stanford University and my primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego. Not so. UCSD has agreed to accept only one Covered California plan—a very restrictive Anthem EPO Plan. EPO stands for exclusive provider organization, which means the plan has a small network of doctors and facilities and no out-of-network coverage (as in a preferred-provider organization plan) except for emergencies. Stanford accepts an Anthem PPO plan but it is not available for purchase in San Diego (only Anthem HMO and EPO plans are available in San Diego).

So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.

Before the Affordable Care Act, health-insurance policies could not be sold across state lines; now policies sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges may not be offered across county lines.

What happened to the president’s promise, “You can keep your health plan”? Or to the promise that “You can keep your doctor”? Thanks to the law, I have been forced to give up a world-class health plan. The exchange would force me to give up a world-class physician.

For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.

It may not be the point, but it’s going to be the result — as Republicans have warned for years.  The media scoffed at the vehement arguments in that period.  Maybe they can catch up in the quiet quickly enough to save Edie Littlefield Sundby and all those like her.


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The White House attacked Sundby this morning…do you think anyone is safe from these thugs. We’re beyond old political platitudes.
Yeah, let’s sit back and be quiet.

d1carter on November 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

It Disgusts me that the White House has targeted this woman for a Smear Campaign because she foolishly blamed Obamacare and NOT her insurance company.

But the number of Trolls who are defending the White Hose on Facebook is sickening.

One troll actually wrote; “This is like attacking Obama for saying No One is going to take your guns away in the Gun Control debate then blaming him because someone broke into your house and stole them.”
How do you debate that level of Colossal Ignorance?

jaydee_007 on November 4, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Yep, let the Dimocraps hang themselves, then remind the world who it was that tried to prevent to mess from going into force.

The GOP “moderates” can’t win that one either as they stood for nothing except cowardice.

Quartermaster on November 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

GOP leadership: “Then it’s settled. We’ll rely on the media to expose Obamcare for the fraud that it is. And we’ll go back to doing what voters sent us to DC to do: reaming the Tea Party, crucifying Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, exempting ourselves and our staffers from Obamacare, sneaking amnesty past our constituents while they are whining about Obamacare, and doing all that we can to lose control of the House and to fail to take control of the Senate.”

BuckeyeSam on November 4, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Well, thanks BuckeyeSam. Now you’ve scared the crap out of me,

made me sick; I want to throw up, and really, really pizzed me off.

Mirimichi on November 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

And don’t screw up with a push for Amnesty!

tomshup on November 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

blink on November 4, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Regarding fixing the WH website in a few weeks…..ain’t gonna happen!

tomshup on November 4, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Back off? That is the losing motto of the GOP for the last decade or so. The freedom thieves push boldly ahead and the GOP backs off
hoping the little people will do the work we pay them to do.

How about a full fledge fight and unite behind the Cruz, Lee, Palin and the guys who want to wipe this off the map? You might actually swamp the next election doing your job instead of praying for a tsunami from heaven.

Don L on November 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM

get all these stories out there about how Obamacare is screwing ppl over.
hang it around the Dems neck. daily say “we told you so, you would not listen to us.”
do not scew the pooch on amensty or EDNA …

conservative tarheel on November 4, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Obamacare just got real.

Today we received our notice in the mail that our group policy, which has insured myself, my family, and my employees and their families for over twenty years, has been cancelled, thanks to Obamacare.

May he rot in hell.

EyeSurgeon on November 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Darrell Issa still plans to conduct an investigation

When will we learn that Darryl Issa (Mr. Amnesty scribe) has never brought any closure to any of his pretend investigations? He’s a phony.

For gosh sakes, Geraldo did a better job investigating Capone’s secret hiding place than Issa has investigating and losing win, win trials.

Don L on November 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Part of the reason the RINOs won’t say anything is because they would have to acknowledge that Cruz was right. Considering that a whole bunch of the GOPe attacked Cruz this would make them look bad and they know it. What the Tea Party should do is to point out that Cruz did a told you so during his 21 hour filibuster. Just like with the Virginia race the RINOs will not get involved if it threatens their power.

If you are conservative or a independant in Virginia look beyond the McAuliffe ads and that 3rd party candidate and vote for Cucinelli. If you can’t see after the Obamacare disaster that the Dems aren’t working in your best interest then you never will and deserve all the bad things that will be brought down upon you under McAwful’s regime.

neyney on November 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

When will we learn that Darryl Issa (Mr. Amnesty scribe) has never brought any closure to any of his pretend investigations? He’s a phony.

For gosh sakes, Geraldo did a better job investigating Capone’s secret hiding place than Issa has investigating and losing win, win trials.

Don L on November 4, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Ya – other than lots of testimony, mostly lies, and lots of sound bites, has even ONE of Issa’s hearings ever resulted in anything?
Has ANYONE yet been fired or sent to jail?

dentarthurdent on November 4, 2013 at 3:06 PM

“I’m really good at killing people…”

- Barry O

Wyznowski on November 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM

There is a difference between “piling on” and gently reminding people that;

A) Since the onset of Obamacare Republicans warned this was going to be a disaster

b) That was a point they were desperately trying to make, again, during the Shutdown/Debt Ceiling, for which they were flamed

C) We are determined to provide you relief by proposing measures that will allow you to continue your existing policy, keep your doctor and keep your costs affordable.

But, you know, go home and don’t let anyone know you are trying to help.

Marcus Traianus on November 4, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Because of course that’s exactly what the democrats would do if it were a Republican-supported bill under a Republican president failing this spectacularly.

The GOP has absolutely demoralized me. I’m even losing interest in politics because I realize there is absolutely nobody in this party who will fight the Left so no reason to even look at news sites anymore. All every day produces is one more story about one more democrat-leftist depredation against this country as the stupid, fuc*ing, cow-faced GOP chews its cud and does nothing. Who needs it?

rrpjr on November 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

I think Boehner might try to have somebody do a comparison between the structure of the PPACA and whatever structure a GOP alternate proposals to highlight any (presumably there should be some) differences between the two.

Up to October 1, the backers of the PPACA had this “it is going to be wonderful” line they followed, even as others, more muted (or gagged), warned that there were problems. Now the PPACA is being implemented in a way that people can actually see what the results look like. This is possibly (strategy, everyone has one and not everyone can be right) an opportunity to try and illustrate how the two approaches differ. Of course, the GOP proposals have the same quality as the pre-rollout PPACA but there may be no better time to point out the whys it could have been different and “do you feel lucky (about what the PPACA will do to your situation)”?

The technical problems will likely still be around to some degree so emphasize what the road not taken could mean in comparison.

Russ808 on November 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

“I’m really good at killing people…”
- Barry O Wyznowski on November 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM

He also wants to “put the fear of God in all of you” about conservatives.

Akzed on November 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Because of course that’s exactly what the democrats would do if it were a Republican-supported bill under a Republican president failing this spectacularly.

rrpjr on November 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

If O’bamacare (in its exact same form) had been called Bushcare, it never would have gotten out of committee, much less be enacted.

Del Dolemonte on November 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Poland: “Let’s back off Hitler and let Nazism speak for itself”

faraway on November 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM

MLK: “Let’s back off the Democrats, and let segregation speak for itself”

faraway on November 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

When they return, Darrell Issa still plans to conduct an investigation into the debacle through the Oversight Committee,

Hah, you’re funny Ed.

oryguncon on November 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Before the Affordable Care Act, health-insurance policies could not be sold across state lines; now policies sold on the Affordable Care Act exchanges may not be offered across county lines.

For someone in as desperate straits as this lady, she should be shopping different counties. If it’s a matter of life and death, MOVE!

For the rest of you, when you relocate, move up to a bigger house, or search for a job in a different county, look at the cost of health insurance. We’ve always done that in terms of state income taxes, now it must be done for healthcare as well.

slickwillie2001 on November 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

wrong. as
Obamacare implodes the GOP in the house should be out front everyday fighting against it. showing the Citizens that they will fix this mess if given the power in 2014

unseen on November 4, 2013 at 4:19 PM

WWRD?

what would Reagan do? Would he back off and let communism speak for itself. Or would he stand in Berlin at the Berlin wall and tell the USSR to tear down the wall.

Yeah the House GOP are clueless.

unseen on November 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Lincoln: let’s back of abolition and let slavery speak for itself.

Galtian on November 4, 2013 at 4:22 PM

back off

Galtian on November 4, 2013 at 4:22 PM

So, once again, they will let the left control the narrative and within a few weeks it will all by their fault or the fault of the evil insurance companies or anyone but the people who passed the bill…great strategy!

blue13326 on November 4, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Of course Ed seems ok with going the passive route here.

bluegill on November 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

WHATEVER, Republicans.

You still need a plan. You still need to have a clue. You still need to anticipate the moves and counter them at the same time you sit back and chuckle.

Sure, it is self-imploding, but never, ever, underestimate the depravity of the opposition.

Be wise. Be nimble. Sitting back is a good plan, but…. see above.

bumsteaddithers on November 4, 2013 at 4:28 PM

When your opponent is digging his own grave, don’t throw yourSELF into it.
Let ObamaCare blossom and grow. Like the political ragweed that it is.
Republicans have shot their feet off quite enough for one year. Get out of the way.
Let the ObamaCare giant kill itself off.

orangemtl on November 4, 2013 at 4:32 PM

If the damn ObamaCare is so good why is Congress exempt from the law. Congress and administration has no standing forcing us into a horrible law! Also, why is the America public supposed to spend so much time and effort on a health insurance they may already have and like! King Obama has NO concern for money wasted, time spent, or administrators who have no idea how to fix this train wreck!

karlinsync on November 4, 2013 at 4:33 PM

so let’s see. the enemy just completed a major offensive. the offensive left them weak, and major holes in their defensive lines as well as left their flanks exposed. so as the opposition what is your game plan to take out the enemy? Do you hammer their flanks? do you push into the weaken defensive lines? do you continue to hammer them from the front in their weakened exhausted positions until they surrender and retreat? No if you are the house gop. You sit back and allow the enemy to regroup and recharge and wait as the enemy consolidates their positions and the captured population gets “used” to their new masters.

Freaking idiots.

unseen on November 4, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Republicans should advocate for constitutional health care, that is, the kind with no involvement whatsoever by the federal govt.

Akzed on November 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Wrong. Wrong. WRONG Boehner!

NOW is the time to go on the offensive and have the GOP offer a better alternative to health care reform.
Leave the pre-existing coverage change intact and gut Obamacare allowing insurance companies to form coverage groups nationwide and with standardized pricing models and then let the free market go to work.

It’d be like getting your insurance through Expedia.

Standing by and doing NOTHING will force Democrats to show their hand and they’ll ramrod socialized medicine down our throat and you, of course, will do NOTHING then…

Skywise on November 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Of course Ed seems ok with going the passive route here.
bluegill on November 4, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I’m ambivalent.

On the one hand, as Napoleon said, “If your enemy is making a mistake, don’t interrupt him.”

But on the other hand, you have different fingers.

Akzed on November 4, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Freaking idiots.

unseen on November 4, 2013 at 4:39 PM

That’s the nicest thing you could have possibly said.

rrpjr on November 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Yep…should have done this before Cruz went on his rant and shut the government down

Obamcare will fail…we all realized that 3 years ago….

Redford on November 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.

When Ezekiel Emmanuel, the Jewish Dr. Mengele, nods his head to the right, it means you go to the infirmary (one shot in the back of the neck).

ardenenoch on November 4, 2013 at 6:15 PM

New obama lie

Schadenfreude on November 4, 2013 at 7:39 PM

You’ve got them on the run, and you won’t go after them???

Lord a mercy…this is why Lincoln had to go through general after general until he found Grant…

If Boehner had been Eisenhower, he’d have probably told Patton to just let the Germans implode….spend a few weeks here in Normandy, George..

EastofEden on November 4, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I agree with Boehner..Let it burn..:)

Dire Straits on November 4, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Let’s back off and let ObamaCare speak for itself

-signed every smart republican

(excludes the idiot fire breathers in the tea party)

rubberneck on November 4, 2013 at 10:21 PM

If the Republicans’ strategic model is a French midget, then really, is it any wonder that we are where we are today?

Cylor on November 5, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Rather than sitting back and waiting the Republicans had best be working on how to counter the proposals that are sure to come from Democrats for delaying the impact of this monstrosity until after the 2014 elections.

This is not the time to rescue Democrats like Mary Landrieu who has now proposed a bill to let people keep health plans even though two years ago she voted against a Republican proposal to do exactly that.

Nomas on November 5, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Put this “sit and watch our enemies self-destruct” strategy in history.

Let’s stop the war here. The Japs are committing suicide in Saipan so we’ll just wait them out–no need to kick them whole they’re down so they never get up to attack us again?

When the left hands you a very rare opportunity to destroy them–you do it. They are fundamentally evil in their agenda and will not hesitate to destroy us if we allow them to get up. Hit them while they’re down so that they can’t get up again.

This strategy of backing off is exactly why we always lose with them–they don’t ever back off and they keep winning. What is so foolish about doing that ourselves for a change?

IMO; It is the RINO right that is clamoring for us to stop and they are freedom’s enemy as well.

Don L on November 5, 2013 at 7:09 AM

The RINOs at the GOP are very wrong. They need to beat this issue until they’re blue in the face. Kick it while it’s down. They need to answer every single excuse that comes out of the White House. Issa??? Give me a break! He hasn’t yet moved on Fast and Furious, Benghazi? Issa is an Establishment type that will never do anything substantial against Obama. He hasn’t yet.

DC555 on November 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM

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