Republicans trying to learn from missed opportunities and wrong strategy, Guthrie says

10/30/2013 02:37 PM

Congressional Republicans missed an opportunity with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act because they used the wrong strategy during the government shutdown, said Congressman Brett Guthrie.

“I actually thought it would have been better to let the health care bill play out like it has over the last couple of weeks, three weeks now and it still doesn’t work, and then lets delay the individual mandate,” said Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, in an interview in Washington last week.

Despite the fact that the government was shut down, Oct. 1 still marked the beginning of the enrollment period for uninsured Americans to sign up for health insurance as part of the law’s health exchange marketplace.

Many had trouble signing up on the federal website that was set up to help the uninsured in 36 states that didn’t set up their own versions. And many of the exchange web pages crashed the first day, including Kentucky’s Kynect page. That was overshadowed by the dysfunction in Washington at the time, Guthrie said.

“I didn’t think Obamacare was going to be ready, and I was right,” Guthrie said (at 1:30). “And remember, the government shutdown but what continued? Obamacare. Because it was in a different part of the bill so we didn’t even shut that down. But the headline would have been ‘the healthcare bill is not ready.’”

The deal reached by Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid re-opened the government until Jan. 15 and raised the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. Guthrie said he believes some in Congress have learned from the shutdown and will take that with them going into the next round of debates.

“We have got to figure out how to get our message out and lay the predicate before we go into these,” Guthrie said.

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