Republicans need to remind America that the huge increases they are now paying in their health insurance are concrete evidence of the impact of the mandates in Obamacare. They need to point out that the $500 billion in Medicare cuts are coming and that, already, reductions in physician fees are driving thousands of doctors to close their doors to Medicare patients. The Republicans need to explain how Obamacare creates an entirely new entitlement and will swell the deficit.
Voters don’t buy the argument that Obamacare will cut the deficit. According to Rasmussen, 45 percent say that repealing the program is more likely to cut the deficit while 33 percent say leaving it on the books will be a better way to reduce it. Republicans need to underscore this linkage.
The larger point is that the new Republican House gives conservatives a chance to re-litigate the battles they lost in Congress in 2009 and 2010. At each turn, they need to re-fight the battle for public opinion and carry it each time. A president usually sets the agenda. But conservatives can keep the focus on the unpopular spending and legislation Obama jammed through a Democratic Congress by pushing for defunding and repeal.
Republicans won’t get repeal. But they will be able to defund the program. They can block the IRS from enforcing the individual and employer mandates and can stop Health and Human Services from slicing $500 billion from Medicare and implementing health care rationing. But it will be a long fight. Republicans will have to demand these concessions as a prerequisite for approving the budget and perhaps even a debt limit increase. They will need to stand their ground in the face of the hue and cry that they are being irresponsible and holding the nation hostage.
And, they’ll need public opinion on their side!
They will need the tea party to get loud and conservative groups to start advertising. It’s the second round. A round the opponents of Obamacare can win. But they mustn’t go to sleep. They need to wake up!
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