Republicans reinforce mission to destroy healthcare reform

While the bipartisan deal last week ended the government shutdown and left healthcare reform unharmed, Republicans intend to capitalize on health exchange glitches for the 2014 congressional elections, the Associated Press reported.

The GOP hopes problems with Affordable Care Act implementation will hurt four Democratic senators who face re-election in GOP-leaning states for the first time since they voted for the healthcare reform law in 2009, and their defeat is critical to giving the GOP a chance at a Senate majority.

"The bottom line is these candidates will have to answer for why they voted for this bill," Rob Engstrom, senior vice president and national political director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the AP.

With more than a year until the election, Democratic leaders call the GOP's plan to use healthcare reform as a campaign weapon an "irresponsible obsession," according to the article.

But Republican lawmakers are not giving up on their mission to destroy the healthcare reform law. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, will keep targeting healthcare reform in the coming months, the Los Angeles Times reported. More senior Republican senators also still have their sights set on a healthcare reform repeal, but don't want another government shutdown in 2014 as part of their negotiation tactics.

"A number of us were saying back in July that this strategy could not and would not work, and of course, it didn't. So there'll not be another government shutdown, you can count on that," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)  said on CBS's "Face the Nation," the LA Times noted.

Republicans' mission to destroy healthcare reform also includes an investigation into the beleaguered rollout of the health insurance exchanges, starting with a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this week. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reportedly refused the committee's request to testify at the hearing on Oct. 24 and won't send HHS Secretary Sebelius to appear at the hearing, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- read the AP article
- here's the LA Times article