For weeks I’ve been wondering why no one is talking about how Republicans sabotaged the ACA rollout by refusing to implement state run marketplaces, and thus unexpectedly forcing all of that additional burden on to the federal website.
It reminded me of Republicans denying security funding for Benghazi and then blaming Obama and Clinton for the lack of security in Benghazi. The media were oddly uninterested in that alarming fact.
But today, Todd Purdum at Politico exposed how Republicans sabotaged the ACA rollout. One small part of their plan was the rejection of the state run exchanges.
But also, Purdum points out, Republicans refused to fund the extra work on the website after the states refused to do their parts, leaving the administration to cobble funding together for Healthcare.Gov. Putting this extra burden on the website was a deliberate effort to cause the law to “implode” on itself.
But the bitter fight over passage was only the beginning of the war to stop Obamacare. Most Republican governors declined to create their own state insurance exchanges — an option inserted in the bill in the Senate to appeal to the classic conservative preference for local control — forcing the federal government to take at least partial responsibility for creating marketplaces serving 36 states — far more than ever intended.
Then congressional Republicans refused repeatedly to appropriate dedicated funds to do all that extra work, leaving the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies to cobble together HealthCare.gov by redirecting funds from existing programs. On top of that, nearly half of the states declined to expand their Medicaid programs using federal funds, as the law envisioned.
The Republican manufactured shutdown on the very day of the opening of the exchanges further burdened the administration and disrupted last minute efforts regarding the rollout. This seems like common sense; it’s amazing that the media never asked Republicans about this in all of their incessant complaining about the website that they sabotaged.
And the cherry:
In fact, putting an excessive burden on the federal government was the explicit aim of the law’s opponents. “Congress authorized no funds for federal ‘fallback’ exchanges,” the Tea Party Patriots website noted as long ago as last December. “So Washington may not be able to impose exchanges on states at all.” The group went on to suggest that since Washington was not equipped to handle so many state exchanges, “both financially and otherwise — this means the entire law could implode on itself.
You’ve got to read the entire piece, as I narrowed this down to the salient point that caught my eye since I’ve been suggesting that the Republican states refusals to implement the exchanges placed an extra burden on the federal site and had an impact on the rollout from the beginning. Capacity is a huge part of any website. Their careful denying of funding and public plans that the combination of these forces would prove too much for the website and thus cause the law to implode shows their desperate dedication to destroying ObamaCare.
The entire two page piece carefully lays out the planned sabotage of ObamaCare. The Republican ability to surgically coordinate these plans and never get busted by the media is impressive. Or it would be if our media weren’t so pathetic. Their plan is still a fail, though, as a failed website was never going to destroy the law. Relying on their illogical, mad belief system is exactly why Republicans can’t get their act together.
Republicans might not be winning the messaging with their constant destruction of everything in their paths, but they are hurting this country.
Typically, most Democrats — including Kathleen Sebelius — refuse to point the finger at Republicans. It’s rude, childish and unfitting. Instead they play the grown up, taking responsibility because the buck stops with them. That is as it should be, but it’s a big fail in this political climate.
Democrats need to drive these truths home and force the media to cover them. Politicians are the actors and the beltway media is TMZ. Make a stir. Show some metaphorical leg. Point fingers.
Yes, it will be degrading and ugly, but the truth is that Republicans are never going to stop this – they can’t be taught to behave and put country first. They will have to be shamed by the truth each time.
This media is lazy and they like their narratives to paint the Obama (who refuses to do the beltway thing) as the bad guy. That’s fine for him, as he’s not facing re-election, but Democratic lawmakers can’t afford to let the media chase Republican narratives anymore.
If for no other reason than this is hurting our country, Democrats need to buck up and kick back. Drop some soundbites, craft a narrative, be outraged. It’s theater, and the most dramatic wins when the media has turned into a Beltway TMZ.
Image: Crooks and Liars
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.