Editorial: Republicans’ rhetoric must reflect reality in light of new report

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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Forget the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, “Obamacare is the most dangerous piece of legislation passed in congress,” according to Republican Congressman John Fleming. 

This is the kind of rhetoric from the Republican Party that we have become accustomed to since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Yet, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan government agency that researches and provides economic data to congress, the forecast outlining the effects of the bill do not match the perils Republicans say it will bring. 

In fact, according to the report, the bill will cost the government far less over the next decade than previously suspected — about $100 billion less, actually. The CBO projects that federal spending will fall by $3 billion in 2014 on insurance premium subsidies and by $164 billion over the next ten years. Furthermore, within three years, Obamacare will apparently cut the number of uninsured Americans in half, while at the same time decrease deficits and government healthcare spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. 

So that means Republican rhetoric is set to cool off, right? Not necessarily. The party has already built campaigns upon demonizing Obamacare, and has long anticipated that the presumed failure of the bill will allow them to retake the senate and gain even more seats in the house. It may seem hard for them to stop the train they have put in motion, but hitting the breaks is necessary. 

Their once supposedly foolproof political strategy in taking over congress will most likely be forcibly derailed by this report. That is, if Republicans do not change the way they frame the bill and acknowledge the social benefits Obamacare will bring, there will be long-term adverse political consequences for the party’s public image and the American public’s understanding of important legislation. 

Of course, that’s not to say that the right wing ideologues will not continue to support campaigns against Obamacare, but rather to say that Republicans should be worried about a constituency who will, according to the CBO report, be positively effected by the bill. The benefits that the bill is predicted to bring have the potential to ignite an enthusasim in constiuents to go vote against those trying to take said benefits away. And furthermore, the bill also has the potential to sway moderates who were once wary of Obamacare towards the left. 

Republicans made the mistake of using devil-term rhetoric to categorize social security, something that legislators would never dream of getting rid of today. The Obamacare debate is leaving Republicans on a dangerous path toward repeating history. 

Obamacare is not shaping up to be the weapon Republicans wanted it to be. After all, polls in senator races in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alaska are already showing augmented support for incumbent democrats.

That being the case, Republicans need to have their rhetoric match the numbers, because the numbers also happen to be a portion of their voters — the people gaining from the Affordable Care Act. If not, the party will not only lose support, but the public will also lose a party acting productively for its best interests. 

Therefore, Republicans must change their message. The last thing the party and public need is a greater voter disillusionment and confusion as a result of anti-government and anti-policy rhetoric.  

 

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