To the undisputed reasons for Obamacare’s rocky rollout — a balky website, muddied White House messaging and sudden sticker shock for individuals forced to buy more expensive health insurance—add a less acknowledged cause: calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step. [...]Hey, Politico, thanks for noticing! It's actually a pretty complete story, for all its tardiness, detailing the efforts by Republican governors and legislatures to refuse to set up exchanges, to refuse Medicaid expansion, and to block efforts by navigators to inform people about the new law. It includes the House Republicans' refusal to allow any new funds to the law after it was clear the federal exchange would have to cover dozens of state. It covers the legal challenges and the efforts by conservative groups and pundits to convince people to boycott getting health insurance. It includes Rep. Darrell Issa's ongoing witch hunts to try to gum up the works and his harassment of totally unrelated private companies, sending "letters last week to Google, Microsoft, Verizon, Oracle and Expedia, demanding to know if they were among the Silicon Valley experts enlisted by the Obama administration to help fix the sputtering health care website."
From the moment the bill was introduced, Republican leaders in both houses of Congress announced their intention to kill it. Republican troops pressed this cause all the way to the Supreme Court—which upheld the law, but weakened a key part of it by giving states the option to reject an expansion of Medicaid. The GOP faithful then kept up their crusade past the president’s reelection, in a pattern of “massive resistance” not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.
The opposition was strategic from the start: Derail President Barack Obama’s biggest ambition, and derail Obama himself. Party leaders enforced discipline, withholding any support for the new law—which passed with only Democratic votes, thus undermining its acceptance. Partisan divisions also meant that Democrats could not pass legislation smoothing out some rough language in the draft bill that passed the Senate. That left the administration forced to fill far more gaps through regulation than it otherwise would have had to do, because attempts—usually routine—to re-open the bill for small changes could have led to wholesale debate in the Senate all over again.
None of this, of course, is news. Republican sabotage has been reported in plenty of outlets and blogs for all the years that it's been happening, but has never been the focus that it should have been. Considering that this Republican obsession with nullifying the law has essentially destroyed a functioning government, maybe it's time more of the beltway press clue in.