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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

What Was Cruz’s Ultimate Strategy in This Fight?



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Today the Senate will begin debate on a House-passed stopgap spending bill that includes language to defund Obamacare. As USA Today reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to strip that provision from the bill and return to the House later this week a clean stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Nov. 15.

At that point, John Boehner and House Republicans will face a choice: pass the “clean” stopgap bill that includes funding for Obamacare, and avoid a government shutdown, or attempt to win a messaging war with the White House during a government shutdown.

Odds are Obamacare will go into effect October 1.

Ted Cruz’s critics in both parties will argue that he failed, because his approach never overcame two obstacles other Republicans thought were insurmountable: a Senate controlled by Harry Reid and pro-Obamacare Democrats, and President Obama’s steadfast refusal to sign a bill defunding his primary legislative accomplishment. They’ll argue that all 21 hours of speaking were for naught.

But the past weeks have been filled with a loud, familiar argument: Democrats insist Obamacare is good, is working fine, and doesn’t need to be delayed or repealed (beyond the portions the administration decided to unilaterally delay). Republicans loathe Obamacare with a passion, foresee disaster, and did everything legally, politically, constitutionally, and humanly possible to prevent its passage and implementation.

One has to wonder whether Cruz really believed enough grassroots pressure would suddenly change the minds of Senate Democrats and President Obama, or whether his goal was this all along: cementing the public’s perception that Obamacare is entirely a Democrat-run production, and that fixing the problems it creates will require the election of the Republican opposition.

What sort of problems?

Consumers still find health insurance unaffordable, even with the federal subsidies, once you throw in the co-pays and deductibles.

The federally run marketplaces will not be able to electronically transfer Medicaid applications to states when U.S. residents begin signing up for health coverage on Oct. 1.

The House and Senate Disbursement Offices are encouraging members and staff to delay signing up for plans, because the Office of Personnel Management’s final regulations aren’t published yet.

Health care costs are projected to increase next year — both overall and in the rate of increase — even though the point of passing Obamacare was to control costs and “bend the cost curve down.” Out-of-pocket costs are increasing faster than overall spending.

Walgreens, IBM, and Time-Warner, among other companies, are pushing thousands of employees off their company-administered health-insurance plans, telling them to purchase plans on the private exchanges — violating the president’s “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge.

Millions of Americans are about to run headlong into a gauntlet of headaches . . . and they’ll know who fought tooth and nail to stop all of it:


Tags: Ted Cruz , Obamacare , Harry Reid


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