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. 
Advertisement

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. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.