Republicans have been so obsessed with the Affordable Care Act, for so long, that it's surprising they can still come up with new arguments to attack it. Sen. Rand Paul unveiled a new one today.
"We haven't had a big debate about Obamacare really since it passed in Congress," he said on CNN Tuesday. "And so I think it was helpful to have the debate."
No big debate? Nothing in the three and a half years since the president signed the law? Since the law went to the Supreme Court (which ruled it consitutional)? Since it was a focal point of the 2012 election?
Mitt Romney campaigned as the man who would repeal Obamacare.
"I have no problem with folks saying Obama cares. I do care," the president said. "If the other side wants to be the folks that don't care, that's fine with me.”
The two candidates in fact debated the law during their debates!
Perhaps Rand Paul should listen more closely to his colleague John McCain. In his Senate speech against Ted Cruz's recent faux-filibuster, he noted how proud he was of the debate that took place in Congress, even though his side lost that debate.
"But we fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner, and we lost, and we lost, one of the reasons is because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation," McCain said. "But I was extremely proud of the effort that we on this side of the aisle made to attempt to defeat what we thought was a measure that was not good for America."
"I'd remind my colleagues that in the 2012 election, Obamacare, as it's called--and I'll be more polite, the ACA--was a subject of--that was a major issue in the campaign," McCain said later. "I campaigned all over America for two months everywhere I could, and in every single campaign rally I said, 'And we have to repeal and replace Obamacare.' Well, the people spoke. They spoke, much to my dismay, but they spoke, and they re-elected the president of the United States."
Multiple polls, including one released just this week, have shown that a significant percent of Americans would like to see the health reform law improved, and the president has said he'd be open to discussing that with Republicans. But he's also made it clear that he won't negotiate any changes to the law with the government shutdown clouding the debate.
"He's willing to have a conversation with anyone who's serious about measures that might strength or improve the Affordable Care Act, make it better make it more efficient in achieving its goals of providing insurance coverage, affordable insurance coverage to millions of Americans who don't have it." White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. "But we're not going to negotiate under threat of shutdown or under shutdown in order for the Republicans to achieve their partisan agenda goals here."
"We get it, they don't like the Affordable Care Act, they don't like Obamacare," he said. "They have tried again and again and again to repeal it, defund it, delay it, undermine it, and they are obviously entitled to an welcome to continue to try to do that through the normal legislative means, but what they should not do because it's irresponsible is shut down the government over that partisan pursuit, nor should they allow the United States to default in order to achieve what they could not achieve through normal means."