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Rob Horowitz: Campaign To Strangle Obamacare In Its Crib Will Fail

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


When even other Republicans know that this campaign is going to fail, the fight has already been lost.

Amidst a deeply irresponsible, no-holds barred campaign to stop Obamacare before it gets off the ground, Health Source Rhode Island, the state’s online insurance exchange, mandated by the new landmark national health care reform law unveiled detailed information about new health insurance options today.

As envisioned by the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare, the exchange provides small businesses and individuals and families without health insurance, 28 separate plans from which to choose. For low and moderate-income families, who earn up to 400% of the poverty line, which is about $92,000 for a family of 4, these health insurance purchases will be subsidized through newly available tax credits. The new law also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

It is no accident that the rigidly ideological right wing opponents of universal health care are moving into over-drive at precisely this moment, desperately trying to prevent people from going to the exchanges and selecting the health insurance plan of their choice, so that they will be covered as of January 1, 2014. Aiming to persuade young adults and others likely to be uninsured to remain that way, groups funded by the Tea Party and Koch brothers are spending millions of dollars airing misleading television ads. These ads don’t even pass the laugh test, let alone any check of basic facts.

Last ditch effort

Even worse, House Republicans, at the behest of their Tea Party wing, are refusing to fund the government or raise the debt ceiling unless implementation of the new health care law is delayed for a year. In other words, in a last gasp effort to stop Obamacare, they are willing to shut down the government and jeopardize the full, faith, and credit of United States currency.

The strategic thinking behind this politically risky all out effort to strangle Obamacare in its crib is the knowledge that the law is likely to become more popular as it is implemented. That is the history of other controversial sweeping health care reforms, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Massachusetts universal health care law, upon which Obamacare was modeled, has also become more popular the longer it has been in effect. More than 6-in-10, Massachusetts residents support the law according to a 2012 WBUR poll.

A futile attempt

This campaign to stop Obamacare from going into effect will not accomplish its objective. The misleading ads will be trumped by a combination of the millions of dollars that will be spent by the insurance companies in a entirely legitimate and might I say capitalistic effort to capture a piece of this new market, along with the Madison Avenue campaign featuring celebrities urging people to sign up that is being orchestrated by the Obama administration.

Further, President Obama and the Senate are not going to cave in to the House Republicans’ unprecedented and unreasonable tying of the ability of government to basically function to a desired policy outcome.

Many Republicans ranging from Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to Karl Rove have already reached this conclusion. While they oppose Obamacare, they know the House Republicans are on a disastrous course. Let’s hope that not too much collateral damage results, before enough of them come to their senses.


Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


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