Vulnerable GOP Senators Clash With Presidential Candidates On How To Handle Obamacare Ruling


Senate Republicans are having a hard time agreeing on what to do if the Supreme Court guts Obamacare in the upcoming King v. Burwell ruling. The court is expected to render a decision some time in June. While the outcome of the case is uncertain, the Supreme Court could potentially invalidate much of Obama’s signature health care law, eliminating federal subsidies for health care recipients in 34 states.

Some Senate Republicans are scrambling to put together a contingency plan in case the court does strike down the heart of Obamacare. Unsurprisingly, Senators in blue states and swing states, who are up for re-election in 2016, are most actively trying to prevent constituents from being thrown off the federal exchanges right before the 2016 elections. They reason that voters who lose their health insurance might take out their frustrations on GOP Senators at the polls.

One of the most endangered Senate Republicans, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, is leading the effort to try to extend health care subsidies 18 months for those who will be thrown off Obamacare. Conveniently, that would keep his constituents from losing their health care coverage until after the 2016 election. Johnson faces a tough re-election bid. Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold (D) is running to avenge his loss to Johnson in 2010.

One of the problems Johnson, and other vulnerable Republican Senators in tight 2016 races, faces is that a handful of U.S. Senators running for president are staunchly opposed to any law that is seen as propping up the remnants of Obamacare, even if just temporarily. Presidential hopefuls like Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Marco Rubio (FL) have little incentive to work with Johnson and other Republicans to pass any kind of healthcare legislation.

In their attempts to appeal to the hardcore GOP base that will dominate early contests like the Iowa Republican Caucuses, the GOP presidential aspirants are eager to trash Obamacare to maximize their support with anti-Obama voters. Ted Cruz, for example, is campaigning heavily on the theme of repealing every word of Obamacare. Senator Rand Paul has adopted a similar no compromise approach to rejecting the president’s health care law.

While the GOP presidential field if falling over one another trying to prove who hates Obamacare the most, Republican Senators facing re-election are suddenly concerned that people might lose health insurance. Not so much out of legitimate concern for the health and well-being of their constituents, but more as a matter of political survival.

Senator Johnson lamented that if the court repeals the federal subsides and Congress doesn’t act to at least temporarily extend them:

It would hurt real people. That’s something any member of Congress, any public elected official, has got to respond to. You just can’t stop something cold turkey. It’s not responsible. It’s not a fair thing to do.

Although Ron Johnson only seems to acknowledge that Obama’s health care law actually helps people now that he is in dire jeopardy of losing his Senate seat, his recognition also reveals what has gone wrong with contemporary Republican politics. GOP Senators put personal ambition ahead of their constituents. Presidential candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are willing to throw millions of their red state constituents off of their health care, in order to appeal to anti-Obama primary voters. Republican Senators in blue states and swing states, who have painted themselves into a box over the past few years by working to repeal Obamacare, are now singing a different tune as they fight for their political lives in 2016 battleground Senate races.

The Republican’s dilemma would have never come to this impasse if they would simply work to do the right thing for Americans who need health care, rather than basing their decisions on whether or not the choice they make will advance their political careers. Voters in 2016 should reject the Machiavellian presidential candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. They should also vote to retire Senator Ron Johnson whose cynical conversion to compassion only coincides with the 6-year cycle for Senate election years.

22 Replies to “Vulnerable GOP Senators Clash With Presidential Candidates On How To Handle Obamacare Ruling”

  1. leading the effort to try to extend health care subsidies 18 months for those who will be thrown off Obamacare.

    Just long enough to get elected.

    It’s too bad that what Conservatives think is good, and what we the working class think is good, are often two different things.

  2. The insurance companies are already cannibalizing each other to gain advantage in the next round of contracts.

    The GOP governors are already blamming “Obama for not having an alternative plan”…

  3. Put a check by Mark Kirk of Illinois on that list. For years they fought tooth and nail to deny a basic right to healthcare and now when their jobs are in jeopardy they have seen the light.

  4. How stupid are people not to recognize that the things they hated about healthcare before the ACA will be right back to where it is after 18 months. If they fall for this, they totally deserve to lose their healthcare.

  5. and meanwhile, radio silence from scotus. me thinks they will put it out the last day before end of session, while they skulk out of d.c.

  6. Don’t un-include SCOTUS from this issue. True, they don’t have to worry about being reelected, but they do have a credibility issue at stake. The papal five have already squandered much of the court’s credibility, and another “bad” decision could render them unfit to dispense justice for the American people.

    This case and the gay marraige case can either restore confidence in the court or destroy it.

  7. Invalidate it? Haven’t we already gone through this alright. Roberts vote is the one that said the AHA was constitutional. All of it. The Roberts court never Saud 1/4, 1/2, 3/4…It declared the AHA legal, which means the subsidies are legal.

  8. I’m laughing so hard at the IGNORANT who are scrambling and now blaiming president Obama for HIM not having an alternative plan??
    Why does president Obama have to have one?

    YOU’RE the ones who are FIGHTING THIS!!!

    YOU’RE the ones who needed that needed that alternative plan!!!



    The LIBERALS will allow you to VISIT the WH, but you’re NOT EVER living there.

  9. The argument is in the wording of the law. The law plainly states that any state that opts out of the ACA would not receive subsidies and now they are. That’s the argument. Or something like that. I really don’t give 2 craps whether they keep it or scrap it. Effects me none at all. I got the VA.

  10. First you really think I give a crap whether or not I piss you off?

    Second, its not that I don’t care about people in need, I just don’t pay that much attention to this whole argument. ACA is better than what we had but could be much , much better. Keep it, scrap it for something better, I don’t care.

    Will I vote for some one who wants to do away with it, only if they can give a better alternative than just rhetoric on how bad it is.

  11. Why would POTUS need an alternative plan? His ACA is the law.

    People have stopped dying of poverty. No secret plan can compete with reality. If SCOTUS rules against the Federal government, the GOP will have committed suicide.

  12. “They reason that voters who lose their health insurance might take out their frustrations on GOP Senators at the polls.” Ya think? Although, way too much credit for how dense a GOP voter is. See billybones for the prototype.

  13. Billy why are you so heartless?You really don’t care about others yet some one cares enough to give you healthcare? The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.I see you have no quality.

  14. Worst People in the World… REPUBLICANS
    The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released a fiscal year 2016 funding proposal that, among its many provisions, dismantles the Affordable Care Act, eliminates funding for the Title X family planning program and includes something called the Health Care Conscience Rights Act that is essentially Hobby Lobby on steroids.

    Here’s the part of the Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill that would eliminate Title X funding unless the program meets a certain ideological (read: abstinence-focused) criteria:

  15. I’ll listen to the Repugs when they give up their healthcare which is paid for by the very tax payers they are supposed to represent. By the way, Democrats have been trying to get a national healthcare system in place since FDR. Actually, I’d like to hear what Republicans have proposed to benefit us average Americans…ever!

  16. And don’t forget the House voting 55 or more times to repeal it–why aren’t they embarrassed by that, and why don’t their voters see that as wasting taxpayer money and pure absurdity

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