Yes, It’s a Trap.
Since yesterday afternoon a bunch of good Republicans who’ve decided to put their faith in the man who banned the incandescent lightbulb, have been telling me how wrong I am for thinking the Upton Plan is a trap.Folks, it is a trap. You may not think it is a trap, but the Democrats are going to use it to turn the tables on the GOPCertainly Upton and House Republican Leaders do not think it is a trap, but it is one the Democrats have flipped skillfully on the GOP.First, understand that Upton is messaging legislation. It allows everyone in Congress to say they support people being able to keep their healthcare plans, but it lacks measures to force insurance companies to let people keep their plans. It is a paper tiger.But Republicans are starting to pick up worried Democrat votes for the Upton legislation who feel they must stand for something with 2014 on the horizon.So Upton will pass. It will be “bipartisan.”Democrats, meanwhile, need to get Mary Landrieu and a host of other red state Democrats re-elected. The President’s law be damned, they want to save their Senate majority. Remember, Obamacare already has embedded in the law provisions bailing out insurance companies and the Democrats and Republicans have shown themselves perfectly comfortable bailing out businesses deemed “too big to fail” in the past. Insurance companies participating in the exchanges will be deemed “too big to fail” I guarantee. So the Democrats can hurt insurance companies and undermine their own exchanges, but the government will bail out the insurance companies affected under the terms of Obamacare as already written.The House would send the Senate the Upton measure. The Senate Democrats will respond, “But Upton has not teeth. Landrieu has teeth.” The Senate will substitute Landrieu’s legislation for Upton’s, send it back to the House, and watch the GOP try to explain why they say their for letting people keep their health insurance plans, but will not actually force insurance companies to let people keep those plans.Yet again, the GOP will be cast as the tool of insurance companies and Mary Landrieu as the savior of plans people already have. Republicans will cave. They’ll console themselves thinking Landrieu’s bill will undermine Obamacare and cause it to collapse.Upton’s legislation by itself isn’t worth worrying about. But Upton passed with Landrieu’s bill still on the table gives the Democrats the offense back. Republicans will absolutely flub the response and, embarrassed, vote for Landrieu. If you don’t believe me, Fred Upton is open to Landrieu’s plan himself.Lots of Republican pundits and folks at the NRSC are giddy thinking Landrieu will blow up Obamacare. No. It will deliver even quicker rate shock to Americans, but it will not stop Obamacare. Landrieu will do much harm, but it won’t somehow repeal or obstruct Obamacare.The GOP is getting too clever by half. They need to just demand full repeal of Obamacare — not let Democrats like Landrieu save themselves while claiming to fix the unfixable.Obamacare is not fixable. If anything, Landrieu shows just how unfixable it is.In any event, this is all going to become academic as I expect the President, by the end of this week, to find some new way to claim he is saving people without Congress doing anything and then put the GOP leadership on defense where GOP leaders will spontaneously and pre-emptively blame Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and do whatever the President wants them to do.Republicans thought themselves clever, but the Democrats are baiting a trap of the Republicans’ own design. The Democrats, and especially the President, want to be thrown in that briar patch.