GOP Plans Post-Health Reform Strategy
NPR: "Over the past six months, Republicans used the White House push for a health care overhaul as a way to build grass-roots energy and rebuild enthusiasm among activists demoralized by the Democratic sweep back in 2008. While the effort to kill the health care bill ended in defeat for the GOP, conservatives say the issue has lost none of its power to motivate the opposition to the White House in this midterm election year and beyond" (Gonyea, 3/24).
Reuters reports that "12 Republican senators introduced legislation to rescind the healthcare law. 'This fight isn't over yet,' said Senator Jim DeMint, chief sponsor of effort. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did not sign on to DeMint's bill but said the party would campaign to repeal. 'The slogan will be 'repeal and replace,' McConnell said, acknowledging that the public has favored some of the new reforms, such as ones to make healthcare more accessible and the insurance industry more accountable" (Ferrar, 3/23).
The Wall Street Journal: The bill's passage has forced "the GOP to decide whether to maintain its largely unified opposition to (other) Democratic proposals" outside health reform. "Following the enactment of the health-care revamp, some Republicans have said the party should have sought to negotiate, instead of offering blanket opposition, to win concessions. Others nonetheless say Democrats made a mistake in forcing through the health bill, and that the backlash against it will ultimately help the GOP in the November elections. 'If they want to drive these bills to the far left, the ideological left, then there will be less cooperation and more confrontation,' said Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.). 'If they come to the middle on some of this stuff, then I think there is obviously room for cooperation'" (Bendavid and Paletta, 3/24).
The Washington Times: In the meantime, Republicans are targeting what they call health care "sellouts," such as Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who changed their minds on the legislation. "With President Obama's health care overhaul plan signed into law, both parties are searching for political gain from the historic, but controversial, new law and furiously raising cash for a November showdown" (Haberkorn, 3/24).
Los Angeles Times: "Leaders of the movement that bloomed in opposition to the healthcare bill say activists are only further galvanized in defeat and now closer to the Republican Party they once claimed to scorn."
Tea party activists protested the bill over the weekend. The Times notes that "GOP leadership did not take the stage at the protest. [But] they found themselves having to answer for the racial outbursts while trying not to alienate the most visible and vocal source of opposition on the right to Democratic policies. The comments were 'reprehensible and should not have happened,' House Republican Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio said Sunday. 'But let's not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to death.'
Far from being deflated, tea party activists said the weekend's events clarified the battle lines ahead of the November election" (Henessey, 3/24).
NPR, in a second story: "Some congressional Democrats have talked openly about the health bill's unpopularity and the fact that it's likely to cost them seats in November. The bill fits in nicely with the GOP's overall line of attack. Republicans criticize Democrats from President Obama on down for being spendthrifts who have expanded the size and reach of government." But as Democrats focus on other bills, issues like the still-sputtering economy may become more important than health care ahead of the November midterm elections" (Greenblatt, 3/23).
The Boston Globe reports that, meanwhile, 13 Republican state attorneys general "filed suit to stop the law on constitutional grounds, contending the federal government does not have the legal authority to supersede states and require people to buy insurance. The 'individual mandate' in the law is a key component that takes effect in 2014" (Milligan and Viser, 3/24).
KHN's Morning Report includes more detailed news summaries regarding the state lawsuits.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.