Republicans were the political losers in the government shutdown that finally ended on Thursday.
During the crisis, the GOP was rightfully blamed by nearly everyone for the situation, with polls showing favorable numbers only in the 20 percent mark for the Republican Party.
About the only people who weren’t blaming the Republicans were the Republicans.
The Republican Party’s reputation took such a hit that the issue that caused the shutdown – the Affordable Care Act, which they derogatorily call Obamacare – actually became more popular because of it.
This is ironic because on the day preceeding the shutdown, all the problems with Obamacare and the website were reaching such a crescendo that even media outlets generally supportive of President Barack Obama were running stories about these issues. The New York Times, for instance, called the problems with the website a “train wreck.”
Now that the shutdown is over and the government is up and running again, the problems with the website – www.healthcare.gov – are getting attention again. And those users who are able to access the site are finding a severe case of sticker shock at prices of the “affordable care” they will be able to purchase.
According to a story in this past week’s Wall Street Journal, the situation that caused the website’s bottleneck – forcing people to register their personal and financial information before browsing the plans – was intentional. According to the story, the Department of Health and Human Resources originally planned to offer an option to browse plans before registering. However, officials there believed seeing the price of these plans up front would scare away users and cause more problems for Democrats.
Other problems with Obamacare had become evident even before the website went up. Even though the provision requiring businesses to offer insurance to workers who work 30 hours or more per week was delayed a year, many smaller businesses already began cutting back workers’ hours to 29 a week, thus cutting their incomes.
Now that the government shutdown is history, the Affordable Care Act will once again be the focus of people’s attention. President Obama and Democrats won’t have the GOP to blame for this mess. This is theirs and they will have to own it.