Obamacare combatants fight for attention
Opponents of Obama health care legislation rally on the sidewalk during the third and final day of legal arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court in Washington, March 28, 2012. (REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST /LANDOV)
September 10th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
5 years ago

Obamacare combatants fight for attention

Updated 9/10/2013 at 1:48pm

Washington (CNN) - It's been pushed off the radar the past couple of weeks by the 24/7 media coverage over whether Congress should authorize a military strike against Syria, but the bitter partisan battle over the new national health care law claws its way back into the spotlight on Tuesday.

Proponents of the drive to defund the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, take to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to hold an afternoon rally. A couple of hours earlier supporters of the law held their own gathering on Capitol Hill to push back against what they call Republican attempts to "sabotage" the health care law.

The events come as the clock ticks down to key elements in President Barack Obama's health care law taking effect. Enrollment in the health care exchanges that form the core of the Affordable Care Act begins October 1, and members of Obama's administration have been hurriedly pitching the marketplaces to healthy young people, whose participation is necessary for rates to remain low.

The rally to defund Obamacare was organized by two conservative groups, the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica, which last month held events across the country to pressure Republican members of Congress to join the push to defund the health care law.

Three GOP senators who are leading the defund charge, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah, are all scheduled to speak at the rally. The three senators, as well as some other conservative lawmakers, are using upcoming budget battles as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government, including money for the health care law. The measure funding the federal government expires September 30, setting up another Capitol Hill budget battle between congressional Republicans and the White House.

But so far only slightly more than a dozen fellow Republican senators have signed up to support the cause, leaving it up to outside conservative groups to rally the base.

That's the purpose of Tuesday's rally, as well as other events by grassroots conservative groups, including a nine-stop series of townhalls held the past few weeks by Heritage Action, the sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and largest conservative think tanks.

"This fight is about backbone and we need some backbone up here, we need some help," Paul told the crowd. "We may not win the ultimate battle but we won't know unless we begin and fight the battle. I say fight on, don't give up, this battle can yet be won."

House Republican leaders Tuesday introduced to the GOP rank and file legislation that would fund the government through mid-December. In an attempt to give conservative members cover and to secure votes, Republician leaders are also drafing a proposal that would be voted on alongside the funding bill. The separate measure would contain language preventing the administration from using any federal funds to implement the new health care law. A House vote on both these measures could come as early as Thursday.

A senior House GOP aide admitted to CNN Monday night that the language on defunding Obamacare would be non-binding.

"Listen, our goal here is not to shut down the government, " House Speaker John Boehner said at a briefing with reporters Tuesday after a closed-door policy meeting with Republican representatives. "Our goal is to cut spending and stop Obamacare. I believe that the strategy that was outlined to the members this morning accomplishes that."

Asked about criticism from some Republicans that the suggestion of a separate vote on defunding the health care law seemed like a gimmick to appease conservatives, Boehner said "We've just initiated those conversations this morning. We'll be talking to those members as the day goes on."

Both Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor were booed by many at the defund Obamacare rally.

Preceding the anti-Obamacare rally was an event at the U.S. Capitol visitors center organized by two progressive groups, Americans United for Change and Protect Your Care, to "denounce GOP efforts to sabotage the health law and leave millions uninsured," according to a release. A handful of Democratic lawmakers were also attending the gathering.

"We are going on offense on Obamacare. We are no longer sitting around and let Republicans kick a law that we know is going to work," said Americans United for Change president Brad Woodhouse.

The battle over Obamacare and the new attempts to defund the law were generating headlines as Congress headed into recess in early August. Other than former President Bill Clinton's speech last week in defense of the measure, however, the story's been mostly pushed to the sidelines by the constant coverage of a possible U.S. military strike against the Syrian government for their alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

- CNN White House Producer Kevin Liptak and CNN Producer Paul Courson contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Health care
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    Another Brothers-Koch funded grassroots movement whining for media attention? Yawn.

    September 10, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    And the right wingnuts wonder why the world is laughing at them.

    September 10, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Obamacare is immoral? Really!?!?! When did allowing kids with pre-existing conditions become evil?

    September 10, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Joan

    What is immoral is a country where a large part of the population does not care at all about their poor, less fortunate fellow citizens. All of the countries who have universal health care have lower per capita costs, higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality rates and hardly any bankruptcies because of serious health issues. The greed and uncaring attitudes by many of these people is just astounding. Many of them pretend to be Christians. Show me in the Bible where it says to ignore the worries and basic care of their fellow man. The ONLY ones who really benefited from the old system in the US were the big HMO's who make trillions a year, the hospitals who overcharge for everything and the people who could already afford health care. Civilized countries in the rest of the world watched the whole health care debate in the US and just shook their heads.

    September 10, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP teaparty bs and outright lies put out by the incompetent GOP teaparty won't go unanswered in the 2014 midterms when the GOP teaparty loses the house AND senate because of their obstruction and attempts to sabotage the new law. The GOP is in the pocket of the health insurance industry, throw these GOP bums out in the 2014 midterms!!!!!!

    September 10, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    The right wingnut holding the 'obamacare is immoral' sign must have skipped Sunday School classes and missed out on the teachings of Christ. The world is laughing at right wingnuts.

    September 10, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    stupid GOP'ers and their sheep have no clue what they're talking about. Let them rant and cry....only the ignorant listen

    September 10, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Richard Long

    Love the first sentence of this article:
    "It’s been pushed off the radar the past couple of weeks by the 24/7 media coverage over whether Congress should authorize a military strike against Syria..."

    Translation = Obama needed to distract the American people from the disastrous launch of his cornerstone legislation. If the missiles were fired, no one would have noticed that:

    – several large insurance companies have pulled out of the initial launch.

    – the exchange systems have not passed security testing

    – you can't keep your current plan

    – you can't keep your doctor

    – it will cost several TRILLION dollars more than expected

    – health extortion companies have already raised rates to neutralize alleged ObamaCare "savings"

    – if there is low participation of the major group that ObamaCare was built around, young 20 year olds), the costs will skyrocket for everyone

    – Congress, the Regime, and special interest groups have been granted waivers

    – businesses have moved to part-time employment models to avoid ObamaCare taxes

    – heavy taxes on medical technology to fund ObamaCare will translate into higher costs and will neutralize any alleged "savings" from ObamaCare.

    September 10, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Tony in Maine

    Hey lady, how is it immoral for those who have no access to health care except an ER to gain consistent access to a PCP? You don't have to sit beside them in the waiting room. Have your chauffer come out and let you know the doctor is ready for you.

    September 10, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    But he argued a coming "grassroots tsunami" would bring over fellow conservatives to his side in the next month. To help generate that "tsunami" is the purpose of Tuesday's rally, as well as other events by grassroots conservative groups, including a nine-stop series of townhalls held the past few weeks by Heritage Action, the sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and largest conservative think tanks.
    How can it be a "grassroots" movement when it is being instigated by the "oldest and largest conservative think tanks"?

    September 10, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Winston Smith

    The sign says "Obama Immoral). If this is the case, what's so righteous about people without healthcare? When the common person pickets for the wealthy or master, the common person needs a checkup, from the neck up.

    September 10, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Greg in Arkansas

    Waiting for the GOP to tie the vote against action in Syria to overturning Obamacare and try to slip in overturning Roe/Wade in the process......heck, why not toss in a tax-cut or two for good measure, that way, they could get back to the 2014/2016 elections.

    September 10, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. A True Conservative

    Ha ha Lynda/Mn. Guess you don't know or care about Soros....Yawn....

    September 10, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. A True Conservative

    Winston – please read the sign in the photo.....geez.....

    September 10, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Not having insurance is a curse, you lose homes. GOP Thugs better learn. CNN do not be third world junk, just publish.

    September 10, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    What's immoral is the fact that the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer. What's immoral is people like those in the picture above that have helluva health care plans while denying others less fortunate.

    If these are Christians, I would rather be a nonbeliever.

    September 10, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    "Damn the bad luck. I was raking in MILLIONS"-Ted Cruz

    September 10, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Tampa Tim

    The right wingnut holding the 'obamacare is immoral' sign must have skipped Sunday School classes and missed out on the teachings of Christ. The world is laughing at right wingnuts.
    No doubt that the individual holding the sign is getting paid to do so. Everyone on the right has job. She couldn't possibly be living off a government check and protesting it at the same time.

    September 10, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    these are the people that want the IRS to give them a free pass

    September 10, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. just saying

    a large majority of americans want obamacare repealed. so many problems have already cropped up that even the democrats know this is going to be a train wreck. americans don't want their healthcare system wrecked in order to create another gynormus government entitlement program costing the country trillions.

    if it isn't god enough for the unions, congress, the irs, then it isn't good enough for the american people. no more exemptions to buy off groups for their support while the rest of us have to suffer with obamacare. this is one of the worse shams perpetrated on the american people in out history, compliments of the leftist democats and this leftist president.

    dump obamacare now and these leftists in 2014 and 2016 if you don't want your healthcare system wrecked.

    September 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Winston Smith

    @ True Conservative.

    The people doing the carrying of these signs mean the same thing. They are trying to show that they, and they alone are the moral people, doing all they can to stave off the evil president, getting healthcare for the masses. READ BETWEEN THE LINES FOR ONCE.

    September 10, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. truth hurts but reality bites

    Obamacare has already failed on so many fronts, why are we forcing this train wreck to happen. Obamacare is very similar to this situation in Syria. Most of the American people didn't want Obamacare but the Democrats shoved it down our throat. Most Americans don't want to start a war with Syria but Obama and the Democrats are hell bent on starting a war anyways.

    Why are the Democrats not listening to the American people? Who are they listening to? Their owners, the unions? ooops, even they don't want Obamacare now. Ohhhhh.... it's another giant government entitlement program mean't to wreck private healthcare and get us to total government owned and run healthcare. Yes, that is the end game. Good old fashioned Soviet Union style government run healthcare.

    September 10, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    A True Conservative
    Ha ha Lynda/Mn. Guess you don't know or care about Soros....Yawn....

    I'll see your ".... Yawn ...." and double the ante "... Double Yawn...."

    (Oh and to be clear: I absolutely care about millionaires and billionaires funding "grassroots movements" rallying against citizens of the United States of America. It doesn't matter to me which side of the aisle these millionaires and billionaires come from.)

    September 10, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. kirk

    Another clueless comment, I'm a union rep and I have to say your one sad sob, the lies you spread are the same role BS you been pushing without question . Where dies it say the majority want it repealed, your a disgusting Los and you know it. I feel sorry for you idiots who refuse to accept the fact this is class warfare, if your rich I understand, if not I must admit I don't get it the gop has tried to dismantle anything beneficial to the poor, call yourselves Christians and spew nothing but hatred. Tell us all where your getting your info, or should I just say watch fox news

    September 10, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Warren

    Richard Long

    Spoken like a true teabagger. Nothing you have said is true..

    September 10, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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