Inside the Beltway: The uninsured — a new GOP voting block?

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Some advise the Republican Party to be ready to capitalize on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act by picking up support of vexed voters subject to potential collateral damage. It could be a mighty big voting bloc. Some 16 million people could eventually lose their health insurance plans as a result of constraints imposed on the insurance industry by the health care law, says Robert Laszewski, president of the Health Policy and Strategy Association, a policy and marketing consultancy group.

That’s a veritable “army of the uninsured,” points out Noah Rothman, a columnist with Mediaite.com, who predicts the newly disaffected could transform into a GOP coalition when 2014 rolls around — which is a mere nine weeks away.

“Imagine just 1 percent of the uninsured marching on Washington; 160,000 people all singing in the same tune can create quite the crisis atmosphere in the nation’s capital. As politicos are aware, crises are about the only events which animate politicians and change policy these days,” Mr. Rothman says.

“The Republican Party is not especially good at mobilizing disaffected groups and organizing them into a coherent political force. Conservative tea party groups and organizations are, however, experienced mobilizers. If the Republicans can create a coalition out of this ready-made interest group, there is a powerful opportunity to change the trajectory of politics in Washington D.C.,” he continues.

“Perhaps now would be a good time for the GOP to quit the infighting, shorten the topmast and prepare for a hurricane. One is brewing, but it is unclear who will first harness its power ahead of the midterm elections,” Mr. Rothman advises.

CRUZ ON THE MARCH

Certainly one Texas Republican has his eye on harnessing such power.

“For everyone who talks about wanting to win elections in 2014, particularly an off-year, nonpresidential year — nothing, nothing, nothing matters more than an energized and active and vocal grass-roots America. I’m convinced we’re facing a new paradigm in politics. It is the rise of the grass roots. And it has official Washington absolutely terrified.”

So said Sen. Ted Cruz, during an appearance at the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Reagan Dinner in Des Moines on Friday. Such challenging talk brings out mixed reactions. Mr. Cruz has been under attacked by such critics as GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, but it has served to elevate Mr. Cruz among his fans.

“In the eyes of the tea party, the onslaught has only made Cruz seem more heroic,” says McKay Coppins, political editor for BuzzFeed.

“Every time one of these guys attacks him, it’s good for him,” one Iowa Republican “operative” explained to Mr. Coppins. “He’s like a superhero. The more bullets that get shot at him, the bigger and stronger he gets.”

CHOOSE OR LOSE

New Senate legislation against the Affordable Care Act will make use of President Obama’s own words to get its point across. Here comes Sen. Ron Johnson and his “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act.”

Seriously, that is the Wisconsin Republican’s name for his proposal.

“Americans want the freedom to choose their own plans and want to be in control of their own health care. They don’t want Obamacare destroying what they have and what they like. They don’t want their personal choices regarding their health plans and their families’ health plans canceled by Obamacare,” Mr. Johnson says.

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