With health law cemented, GOP debates its next move | www.myajc.com


With health law cemented, GOP debates its next move | www.myajc.com


With the first enrollment deadline now passed, Republicans who have made the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law their central aim are confronting a new reality: More than 2 million Americans are expected to be getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act starting New Year’s Day.

The enrollment figures may be well short of what the Obama administration had hoped for. But the fact that a significant number of Americans are now benefiting from the program is resulting in a subtle shift among Republicans.

“It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., a tea party favorite. “There’s something there. We have to recognize that reality. We have to deal with the people that are currently covered under Obamacare.”

And that underscores a central fact of U.S. politics since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act during the Depression: Once a benefit has been bestowed, it is nearly impossible to take it away.

Republicans are considering several ideas for how to proceed. Johnson argued that Congress should do away with the mandate that most people obtain insurance, but not the online exchanges at the heart of the law. Instead, he said, the options in the marketplaces should be augmented by other choices that fall short of the law’s coverage standards, such as catastrophic health plans.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that health care strategy was the hottest topic of debate in closed-door Republican political sessions.

via With health law cemented, GOP debates its next move | www.myajc.com.

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