The Exciting New Strategy to Dismantle Obamacare, for Real This Time

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 6 2013 4:32 PM

The Exciting New Strategy to Dismantle Obamacare, for Real This Time

The Washington Post maintains a vertical called PostPartisan: The Insiders in which opinions that could expressed in a couple of tweets are bloated out to ramble-length, usually in the service of some party's argument. Here, GOP strategist-pundit Ed Rogers argues that the next Republican bill to halt Obamacare is really going to do it this time. The Keep Your Health Plan Act, introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (mirrored by a similar Senate bill introduced by Ron Johnson), would do all this:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Notwithstanding any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (including any amendment made by such Act or by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010), a health insurance issuer that has in effect health insurance coverage in the individual market as of January 1, 2013, may continue after such date to offer such coverage for sale during 2014 in such market outside of an Exchange established under section 1311 or 1321 of such Act. 
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Doing so, Democrats realize, would undermine the entire health care law. They don't take this bill seriously. Ah, says Rogers—they will! 

If the bill passes the House, it will be interesting to see if the Senate can avoid a vote. We can assume that all 45 Republicans (sic) senators will vote for the bill; add in the 14 Democratic senators who are up for re-election in 2014 and the number of Democratic senators who can’t stomach the lies, and you might get to 60 votes.

Of course it'll pass the House. Every chisel blow to Obamacare makes it through the House. But what Senate is Rogers looking at? Did we not just go through a monthlong CR debate that consisted of Republicans trying to break "vulnerable Senate Democrats" on Obamacare and being shocked when they didn't break? The new bill isn't any different—it doesn't even take advantage of the fact that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (who is up in 2014) and Sen. Joe Manchin (who isn't) have a different, more attenuated version of the bill. It's more messaging.

Rogers doesn't pretend otherwise. He just reveals how ridiculous the plan for passage must be. Yes, "14 Democratic senators" are up in 2014. Among them: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner. None of them is in danger—Warner's from a state where a losing Republican candidate made his election a "referendum on Obamacare" and merely lost by a bit less than expected. If all of them decide to vote with their constituents, oops—no massive Democratic surge to pass this bill.

This is a shame, all of it, whether you're one of those people saving money on Obamacare or one of them losing a good Kaiser plan. Post-shutdown, post a Democratic win in Virginia, there's no proposal for a tweak to Obamacare. There's just trench warfare. Again.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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