One million Americans visited HealthCare.gov one day after the administration announced that the website was working for the vast majority of users. Approximately 29,000 enrolled in coverage in the first two days of December, joining the hundreds of thousands who are signing up through the federal and state marketplaces ahead of the Dec. 23 deadline. On Tuesday, the administration announced that over 1.46 million people have been approved for Medicaid coverage.
All the positive health care news has left Republicans in search of a new way to attack the law and led at least one national group to look in the rearview mirror.
On Wednesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee will target 12 Democrats running for re-election for supporting the health care law’s changes to the Medicare program. Republicans deployed the strategy during the legislative battle over the law, throughout the 2010 midterm elections and most recently in the 2012 presidential contest. Their argument goes like this: Democrats want to cut Medicare by more than $700 billion to pay for a new entitlement, undermining a health care program seniors rely on.
But in reality, both parties are hoping to squeeze Medicare for savings.
Republicans repeatedly voted to preserve these very reductions in the context of a House budget that also trims the program by asking future Medicare beneficiaries to purchase insurance from private companies offering Medicare benefits — and then reducing the value of that credit year after year. The Democrat-backed cuts, in turn, would slow the growth of Medicare over the next decade by targeting over-spending from insurers and providers: eliminating overpayments to private insurers in Medicare Advantage, reforming provider payments to encourage greater efficiency, tying reimbursements to improvements in economic productivity, and reducing fraud and abuse.
Those are two different approaches to getting at the same problem — and most Republicans tacitly backed the latter. But now, the loudest critics of government spending are back to complaining (and disingenuously misrepresenting) efforts to achieve the very policy goal they claim to support.
This post was updated to reflect the latest enrollment numbers.