Corbett, PAGOP Pivot to Obamacare

Obamacare X heartLate this week saw a concerted effort by Gov. Tom Corbett and the Pa. Republican party to pivot the attention of the party base to an issue where the GOP has some momentum: Obamacare.

Corbett and his party are jumping on a delay in a key Affordable Care Act provision. But, their attempts to impede the law’s implementation is not without risk.

Earlier this month, the White House announced that a requirement for business to provide health insurance would be delayed until 2015. Shortly thereafter, Republicans seized the announcement as confirmation that the ACA is bad policy.

Thursday, Gov. Corbett and Pa. Republicans followed suit.

“Governor Tom Corbett continues to stand firmly opposed to the federal government’s takeover of your healthcare,” campaign manager Mike Barley wrote in a fundraising email. “From challenging ObamaCare in the courts to rejecting a costly federal exchange, Governor Corbett has sought to protect Pennsylvania from the fallout of flawed public policy that will cost our state jobs.”

“It’s hard for us to not tell Democrats, ‘we told you so’, but this is what happens when you pass a bill before you read it,” echoed PAGOP Chairman Rob Gleason in a separate fundraising email.

“ObamaCare is a terrible [sic]. Even Obama knows it. Which is why he has implemented a one-year delay in carrying out key ObamaCare initiatives.”

It wasn’t exactly a full court press by the PAGOP. It comprised two fundraising emails and a press release. But it’s not every day

The change of subject to a DC topic follows a week of bad headlines from Pa. Corbett and GOP lawmakers turned in a tax-increase-free budget that was signed before the deadline, but went 0-for-3 on big-ticket priorities. That includes liquor privatization, which is a big deal to the Republican base.

Corbett’s poll numbers have shown an enthusiasm gap among Republicans and most observers agree he needs to energize GOP voters as a first step toward re-election.

Democrats, meanwhile, argue that Republican intransigence is to blame for Obamacare’s setbacks. Pa. Democratic party spokesman Marc Eisenstein said Corbett’s refusal to expand Medicaid – an option under the new law – prevents many Pa. residents from obtaining health insurance.

“Tom Corbett’s record on health care is appalling,” said Eisenstein. “Tom Corbett let 40,000 Pennsylvanians lose their health care under adultBasic and by refusing to expand Medicaid he is costing 600,000 Pennsylvanians a chance at health care coverage.”

Corbett’s re-election campaign emphasizes that the Governor rejects the Medicaid program as it stands, but this sort of language could make Medicaid expansion in Pa. difficult to pursue, should Corbett wish to do so.

Potential backfire

Although Republicans in Pa. and across the country believe making the ACA an issue will lead to gains in next year’s midterm elections, the strategy is not without risk.

In May, the Associated Press reported that the biggest risk Republicans face is a scenario in which the implementation of the ACA goes reasonably well in states that have chosen to embrace it.

On the flip side, the editorial board of the USA Today blasted the GOP – including Governors like Corbett who have not accepted the Medicaid expansion – for sabotaging the new program.

That’s partly why Corbett has left the door open to Medicaid expansion, given concessions from the federal government. That, plus the fact that polling suggests popular support for Medicaid expansion.

But it looks like for Corbett’s 2014 hopes, the GOP base must come first. For now, that means rooting against Obamacare and its supporters.

Continued Barley in the email:

“Our political opponents — including Allyson Schwartz, who wanted ObamaCare to be even more over-reaching — continue to demand that Governor Corbett simply step aside and allow portions of ObamaCare to be implemented, sticking taxpayers with the bill for an unstable system that continues to unravel.”

6 Responses

  1. Dear Theresa: This “George Zimmerman” pivot has nothing at all to do with health care. This is about John Brabender dragging out his tired bad pictures of our first Black President. It is all about race and racism-without George Wallace-like speeches. To be clear this about race and not policy. How would the Gleason PAGOP run a race if the Healthcare Act were really fixed?

  2. I personally want something to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act. I think a better job could have been done. I want more people to have access to affordable quality, comprehensive health care if that means insurance coverage than okay.

    I don’t want part of this bad plan to be implemented. If I had to chose a part it would have been the employer mandate first.

    I want a overhall of the entire system on both the provider side and the payer side. As well as monetary & other incentives to users for participating in healthy behaviors. This is what is needed to get improved health for Americans.I think is what we ultimaltely want as the end result of providing increased access to comprehensive health care.

    So I don’t see this as fixing anything at the end of the day. But makes people think they are doing something. The System Needs a Overhaul.

  3. ZZZzz Who gives a sh*t about the governor’s obsession with whether any non-union Pennsylvanians can ever afford health insurance or not? …. Until HB/SB76 gets passed, the governor and your legislators know full well, an ever increasing number of your neighbors are under a constant threat of going bankrupt and becoming homeless. ….. Hundreds of thousands of seniors have been choosing between eating enough food to sustain life, affording enough medicine and healthcare in the face of the debilitating school property tax. ………..

  4. Obviously, Gleason and the PAGOP braintrust are watching the Zimmerman trail. In fact, you might call this the George Zimmerman pivot: “Don’t let the f*^ing Black guy get away.” It is brilliant. Protecting Pennsylvanians from our first black President will bring jobs and growth to the Commonwealth. I am really getting excited. I’m going to make a large on-line donation now!!!!

  5. Thee clowns are desperately seeking to change the channel. Between his own lack of skills dealing with the public, his budget failure, Kathleen Kane sucking up all the oxygen and his now being left to be the anti equality governor, Governor Corbett is soooooo screwed.

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