Obama Refuses To Help Wreck Obamacare

As you are probably aware, now that Republicans are in some disarray on the tax front, and are having to beg Democrats to propose Medicare cuts to give them cover for an abrupt abandonment of their recent Medigoguery, the one fiscal item GOPers can agree on with full-throated confidence is the ontological necessity of screwing up implementation of Obamacare. (Just yesterday a Forbes columnist wrote a piece on the “Resistance Movement Against Obamacare” that made the cause of denying one’s fellow citizens health care coverage sound like a war of liberation against fascism). And conservatives have been eager to egg on Republican governors and legislators to do everything within their power–and perhaps beyond it–to obstruct everything from the establishment of health exchanges to the expansion of Medicaid.

Since this campaign of willful obstruction postdated the 2011 fiscal talks, it’s not at all surprising that the White House is backing away from one concession it put on the table back then: “blending” match rates for various Medicaid services in a way that would expose states to a higher share of costs while generating $100 billion in long-term savings for the feds. That’s just the excuse conservatives need to help justify their determination not only to oppose the super-matched Medicaid expansion but to press for the “flexibility” to gut existing Medicaid benefits and eligibility.

You can expect considerable shrieking from Republicans about Obama “moving the goalposts” by rescinding this concession (as though they haven’t been “moving the golaposts” of acceptable domestic policies from the day of Obama’s election in 2008). But they have no one but themselves to blame for this particular development.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.