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White House Feared Obama-Care Would Collapse

From the National Journal:

White House Masked Fears of Obamacare Collapse

By Major Garrett | April 1, 2014

… In ways they’ve never discussed before, senior administration officials now admit they feared late last fall that the entire law might collapse under the weight of Democratic defections and aggressive Republican calls for repeal. The mathematics of veto-proof majorities always argued against repeal, but the nightmare of HealthCare.gov followed by the “political lie of the year” on individual insurance policies filled senior Obama advisers with Affordable Care Act existential dread.

Looking back on it now, senior officials heap praise on the triage team led by Jeffrey Zients that rebuilt the website. But they also proclaim with jut-jawed arrogance this unassailable and in retrospect vital political fact: Not one Senate Democrat who voted for Obamacare and only two House Democrats (Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina) ever backed full repeal. That reality wasn’t always a sure thing.

In other words, if the Republican leadership had given any support to Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, instead of cutting them off at the knees, more Democrats would have backed repeal, and Obama-Care would have collapsed.

And, in fact, the White House was deathly afraid this could happen. Though, naturally, our one party news media never told any of this at the time.

The party discipline on repeal reflects the tenacity of the Democrats who drove it through every legislative obstacle: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Obama made calls and held some hands. But Pelosi and Reid ran roughshod on the unsettled, herded the doubtful, and schooled the unwitting in the gruesome politics of punishing traitors…

Pelosi and Reid might be pathological liars and borderline insane. But at least they have the guts to stick to their agenda. Unlike the ‘leaders’ of the Republican Party.

It’s easier now, in retrospect, to declare such anxiety [about an Obama-Care collapse] unthinkable. But it was real inside the White House and Democratic cloakrooms.

For the White House, talk of vulnerable Democrats running away from Obamacare in the midterms sounds almost quaint. They know the real danger of Democrats running away was in November and December. If they didn’t cut and run then, they’re unlikely to do so now…

As the poet said: "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!”"

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

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