Categories: Featured News

The Republican Plot to Thwart The ACA With American Horror Stories Has Completely Failed

In 1785 Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” and it is as true today as it was 228 years ago as Heritage Action, the activist wing of the conservative Heritage Foundation, found out this week. Prior to going on a five week hiatus because House Republicans have toiled a grueling 87 days since the 113th session of Congress began in January, the House Republican Caucus laid out plans to go to their home districts and garner support to  continue fighting against the American people; particularly to defund the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, with valuable assistance from their conservative belief tanks, have spent every day of their vacation following their plan to the letter seeking horror stories about the not-yet-implemented ACA, but they have not had the success they planned.

In their “August 2013 District Work Period Planning Kit” entitled Fighting Against Washington, Republicans intended summoning teabaggers and cruel conservatives to condemn and criticize giving tens-of-millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare insurance, and crucial to their success was media coverage of so-called opposition to the ACA with town halls, protests, and polls showing the inhumane Republicans happy to deny Americans good health. As Republicans did their part in demeaning the health law, Heritage Action, the activist wing of the conservative Heritage Foundation, conducted a “push poll” to demonstrate just how angry Americans were that the insurance industry could no longer cite pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits, and gender as a reason for denying coverage to policy holders, but the results were not what Heritage or Republicans intended.

A push poll is marketing technique employed during political campaigns in which an organization influences or alters the views of respondents under the guise of conducting an honest poll. Heritage Action dramatically oversampled Republicans to tilt the results in favor of defunding the Affordable Care Act, however, what they discovered was that respondents were more likely to say that the Affordable Care Act should be kept than scrapped, and that a plurality would blame Republicans if the government were to shut down as a condition of not eliminating the ACA. According to Heritage Action’s own results (question 5),  44.5% of Republicans “oppose the health care law and think it should be repealed,” but 52% of primarily Republican respondents either support the law as is or have some concerns, but they do think the ACA’s implementation should move forward.

The poll/survey had another purpose; to determine who Americans would blame if Republicans shutdown the government if the President did not pay the ransom of letting them defund the ACA in exchange for funding the government, and the top response (28%) was Republicans in Congress and second was President Obama at 21%. The results were not what Heritage expected, or wanted, and are remarkable because the “push poll” primarily surveyed Republicans. The sample in Heritage’s poll were designated as “10 competitive congressional districts” they claimed represent “the American people” as a whole, but according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the 10 districts all leaned heavily Republican. Still, 52% of the respondents believed the health law should move forward regardless they had “concerns” that more likely than not means better coverage according to reports from Republican town halls.

It is interesting that Republicans claim “most Americans” hate the health law and want it eliminated when it has not been fully implemented, but the provisions that have went into effect have proven very popular. Thus far insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, cannot impose lifetime limits on coverage, and parents can keep their children on their policies until age twenty-six. Add to that the insurance industry has to refund $1.1 billion in premiums by August to about 12.8 million customers according to the Affordable Care Act’s 80/20 rule. In states embracing the health law, premiums are set to drop substantially  such as in New York where premiums are set to fall by about 50%, and in California the figure is roughly 40% as attested by this author. It is difficult to imagine any policy holder complaining the health law reduced their costs or required insurance companies to give rebates for unused premiums, but there are racist Republicans who would complain about the ACA because, although it was a Heritage Foundation idea, it was signed into law by President Obama.

There has been no dearth of explanations about why Republicans want to kill the Affordable Care Act before it is fully implemented and chief among them is that it is and will to be successful, popular, and provide millions of Americans with access to affordable healthcare. Part and parcel of the GOP’s raison d’être is convincing Americans government programs are failures, and it is why they work tirelessly to make Medicare, Social Security, the Postal Service, and now the Affordable Care Act fail to prove corporations and Wall Street can best serve the people. The greatest fear among libertarians, Republicans, and their belief tanks such as the Heritage Foundation is that the ACA is as popular and successful as Medicare and Social Security in serving the people and they will go to any lengths to prevent implementation of the health law; even using a marketing technique to influence or alter the views of respondents under the guise of conducting an honest poll.

It appears that Heritage is pushing Republicans to shut down the government and hope the people blame the President for not letting Republicans destroy the ACA, but their phony poll revealed their plan will go awry. There are Republicans in the House and Senate who want to shut down the government regardless the cost to the people or if the ACA is defunded, and although they claim only non-essential services will be affected, Americans understand what Republicans consider non-essential. House Republicans stripped food stamp funding from the farm bill because they considered SNAP “extraneous,” and they have not acted to repeal the sequester because cuts to WIC, Meals on Wheels, housing and heating assistance, and Head Start are non-essential programs that do not warrant funding. In fact, Republicans do not believe any government program merits funding and the ACA is no exception.

The Heritage Action push poll revealed that Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with no easy means of escape. If they were to be successful defunding the ACA, Americans already seeing lower rates, insurance company rebates, no pre-existing conditions or lifetime limits will be livid. If they follow teabagger demands and shut down “non-essential” government services, Americans will blame Republicans. However, they are hell-bent on following their plan during their vacation and while they are promoting their fight against Washington, Americans understand they are fighting against the people and Heritage’s phony poll will not convince the people otherwise.

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