As the White House battles the glitch-ridden rollout of HealthCare.gov, Republicans are trying to shift from criticizing the website to other aspects of the Affordable Care Act — especially focusing on people losing their insurance or seeing higher premiums.
"You know, the problem with Obamacare isn't just the website, it's the whole law," Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said as he began his weekly news conference with GOP leaders. "It's time to delay this. It's time to fix this before it gets any worse."
Later, Boehner fielded a question on whether Republicans were narrowing their focus at all on the law to individual parts of Obamacare, given Boehner's insistence that it's time to "fix" the law.
But the speaker was clear: Republicans have their eyes set on taking down the whole thing.
"There is no way to fix this monstrosity," Boehner said.
Leaders are hoping to capitalize on stories of millions expected to lose their insurance or pay higher premiums.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., held up a health care cancellation letter Anthem BlueCross BlueShield sent to one of his constituents. Republicans are pointing to these letters — BlueShield of California sent 119,000 such letters to customers last month, and NBC reported Monday night that 50 percent to 75 percent of the 14 million Americans privately purchasing health insurance are expected to receive cancellation notices over the next year — to say President Barack Obama did not keep his promise that "if you like your health insurance, you can keep it."
Cantor said the letter specifically pointed to the health care law as the reason that his constituent's current health care plan can no longer be offered.
"We know this morning that the president knew that these letters were coming. And this is really, really troubling, I believe, for all the American people," Cantor said. "If the president knew that these letters were coming and still indicated that you could keep your health care plan if you liked it, now that raises some serious questions about the sales job of Obamacare."
Cantor went on to say "the bottom-line" is that problems with the health care law run deeper than just the website. "I mean the failed website is the most visible problem with Obamacare right now, but it's not just the traffic," Cantor said. "The data being transmitted may be incorrect, or even worse, insecure. But the problems do run much deeper than just the website."
The new line of rhetoric is a likely preview of what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can expect as she testifies before the Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday.