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April 23, 2014

GOP Playbook Looks to Capitalize on Obamacare Woes

screenshotGOPplaybook 260x335 GOP Playbook Looks to Capitalize on Obamacare Woes

Screenshot of Playbook

House Republicans have handed out an internal GOP playbook on how to best score political points against Obamacare, the White House and Democrats in general.

The memo obtained by CQ Roll Call, titled “House Republican Playbook: Because of Obamacare … I Lost My Insurance,” is a manual for House Republicans on how to highlight the recent issues with the health care law and how to best “communicate in your district about the disastrous Obamacare rollout.”

Of particular interest to Republicans is the president’s oft-repeated line that “if you like you health insurance, you can keep it.”

In the “Broken Promises” section, Republicans point to two promises the president used to sell the Affordable Care Act: “1) If you like what you have, you can keep it. Period. And 2) Health care costs will go down for all Americans, and ‘save a typical family an average of $2,500…’ Each of these promises has now been broken,” the playbook says.

“Millions of Americans will lose the plan they have and like: Despite President Obama’s promise that you can keep the plan you have and like, we now know at least 7 million Americans will lose their employer provided insurance as a result of Obamacare,” the memo said in its Talking Points section.

That particular talking point links to a May 2013 Congressional Budget Office document on the effects of the health care law, which, in a footnote, estimates that 7 million people will “newly enroll” in employment-based coverage under Obamacare.

Republicans also seem to use that footnote in the Fast Facts section, where the playbook claims the administration “knows it needs seven million individuals to enroll in 2014 to be financially sustainable.”

The memo says 6,200 people completed health care applications on the first day HealthCare.gov went online. In the first week, 51,000 people completed applications, it asserts. And the administration, the memo said, has spent $267 million on the “underlying system” and $500 million on the “online effort.” Republicans, however, do not provide sources for those claims.

While Republicans clearly believe HealthCare.gov is a floundering mess, they see their own online efforts as a primary way to highlight the other flaws in the law.

For instance, the 17-page playbook encourages House Republicans to use the Republican Conference’s #YourStory project to encourage their constituents to submit Obamacare feedback.

“Obamacare is much more than a bad website; it’s a bad law,” the #YourStory section said. That’s an increasingly common talking point among Republicans recently as they have tried to show HealthCare.gov is just a symptom of the overall problems with the Affordable Care Act.

“You know, the problem with Obamacare isn’t just the website, it’s the whole law,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in his opening lines of an Oct. 29 news conference with GOP leaders.

Republicans seem to be shifting their focus from website woes to overall problems, and the playbook suggests that very move.

“Premiums are increasing,” the memo said, and the administration “now acknowledges premiums will increase as a result of Obamacare.”

To prove that talking point, the memo links to a March 2013 news story where Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters “there may be a higher cost associated with getting into [the health insurance] market.”

Time will be the ultimate test of that claim, though it does appear that some could be facing higher costs for insurance.

“Millions more uninsured,” a talking point said. However, that statement does not make clear that the law itself will not cause people to be uninsured. Instead, the memo relies on data showing that fewer people are likely to take advantage of Obamacare than originally estimated.

The GOP packet also features a “Sample Op-Ed,” heavily cribbed from an opinion piece from Republican Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado on losing his private health insurance; about a dozen sample Tweets and Facebook posts from members that “communicate our position”; videos for Republicans to post on their various social media; digital flyers bashing the health care law; and an Obamacare Timeline, a calendar for when various aspects of the law are being implemented.

The playbook — which literally has a clip-art image of an Xs-and-Os football play in it (albeit with 10 Os and eight Xs) — is chock-full of Republican strategies for poking holes in the health care law and pointing out the number of measures Republicans have taken to dismantle it.

Democrats, for their part, suggested Republicans were distorting the truth and only focusing on the negative.

“Are House Republicans so blinded by their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act that they’ll ignore any and all stories of Americans who are already benefiting from the health care law?” a Democratic leadership aide asked CQ Roll Call. “The American people expect their elected leaders to work together to implement and improve the health care law, but it appears House Republicans are only interested in sabotaging it. House Republicans need a new playbook.”

A spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also accused the GOP of attempting to “mislead.”

“Brought to you by the authors of death panels, a guide to mislead the American people and discourage their own constituents from getting access to affordable health care,” said Drew Hammill. “House Republicans need to stop the misinformation, abandon their obsession with repeal, and work with Democrats to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.”

See the playbook here.

  • Jesse4

    Distortions, half-truths, and a lie or two.
    Yep, that’s the Republican playbook alright.

    • papal

      Distortions, half-truths, and a lie or 29 lies. Really who knows how many times Obama said ” you can keep your plan, period”. How many times, I’ve lost count.

      • Dave

        Were you this worried about presidential lying when Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq, we spent two trillion on a pointless war for nothing, and thousands of people died?

        • papal

          I didn’t vote for Bush, either time. Are you talking about the war in Iraq where the majority(Repub and Dem) voted to go to war? Are you trying to legitimize the current president lying because you feel a prior president lied? Or maybe you feel Obama didn’t lie but just pandered?

  • http://foundersfollies.blogspot.com/ Chredon

    “Are House Republicans so blinded by their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act that they’ll ignore any and all stories of Americans who are already benefiting from the health care law?” a Democratic leadership aide asked CQ Roll Call.

    Uh… Yeah.

  • godblessusa

    “…GOP playbook on how to best score political points…”

    Not how to insure the uninsurable, prevent healthcare bankruptcy, bolster Medicare, cover the working-poor or myriad other challenges.

    But how to score political points. The GOP just doesn’t get it.

    • papal

      Apparenty you do not get it either. The government doesn’t want to bolster Medicare. They created the IPAB to curtail spending on Medicare.
      From a government point of veiw is save money in Medicare and save money in Social Security.

  • Lou Alexander

    But still not a word about the GOP plan to replace the ACA with something better. That is because the GOP has no plan to improve the lives of the American people (except for the 1%) just a multi year effort to deprive millions of Americans of health coverage and health care.

    Oops…I just remembered the Republican Plan…Don’t get sick and if you do get sick die quickly.

    • papal

      GOP doesn’t have a plan or need one for the matter. Only a fool would believe that the ACA was passed to improve the lives of the American people. The only reason that the ACA was born was to created the IPAB. Sure they put all sorts of bells and buttons to mask the creation of the IPAB, but if it hadn’t been for the IPAB the ACA would have never became a bill.

      • Jared Chambers

        What are the issues with having an advisory board to recommend cost-saving measures for Medicare?

        • papal

          Millions of baby boomers have paid taxes of Social Security and Medicare to a government that made promises and received the tax dollars and now wants to renege on those promises. These politicians didn’t want to be held account for the broken promises so they create a panel that will do it for them and that way they can appear as though they had nothing to do with it. Liars and cheats all who voted for the bill. The cost savings will lead to denial of service through one form or another and will save SS money also when the baby boomers die off. It is all directed at the baby boomers who are entering SS now.

    • Joseph Jankovic

      Pelosi stated “We have to pass the law to find out what is in it”.
      Obama stated “You can keep your current policy, period”.
      Well the American people now know what is in the law and that those claiming the law will benefit all is not factual.
      I love to see politicians try to wiggle out of their past statements and when the populace holds them accountable it is not pretty!

      • SeattleGuy

        So you actually think those who purchase HC insurance in the individual marketplace would prefer no insurance? That makes absolutely no sense at all, does it? Many who have no insurance now, will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices despite the misinformation being reported.

        Forget your trivial attacks on the administration. Your politicians lie as well. We would forgive them if, just once, they did something for the poor and middle class instead of catering to only the rich and big biz.

    • SeattleGuy

      The GOP did roll out a replacement for HealthCare.gov. It is EmergencyRoom.gov and they even have the phone number in place when it begins. It is 9-1-1 and links to your local HC provider. Aren’t they smart? NOT!

  • anilpetra

    Uh huh. The GOP “play book”.

    The Republicans are desperately trying to save the country from the worst policy since prohibition — not only executed by neophyte hacks, but outrageously misguided and ill conceived.

    To Democrat sympathizers, it’s a game.

    Back when they passed Obamacare, did they really think they were helping the country, or seeking to “win” by any means necessary?

    Unlimited handouts, together with unlimited immigration. Yep, we’ve seen it all before. Under Republicans, it all ends, whether in 2014, or 2016, we’re going to see the end of the Democrat Party.

    Sorry, but Obamacare is a Party extinction event.

  • papal

    It is kind of hard to feel sorry for the dems. They had a chance to avoid this fiasco had they accepted the repubs second offer during the shutdown.

  • Stephen Hero

    hmm – imagine the possibilities for improvements that might have made to the ACA if these characters had spent a tenth of their time on it that they devoted to this nonsense

    • ta111

      They did fool. They tried to repeal the worst law ever passed and save us all alot of pain. It’s the idiot dems who refuse to help the country get out of this mess.

  • Andre Leonard

    Same game of political brinkmanship that has left our country with 11 million illegal aliens and a $17 trillion debt.

    The GOP may find themselves extinct very soon if they cannot provide something other than partisan wrangling.

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