But several GOP senators said Thursday that they will work to shine a spotlight on the problems and renew efforts to stop the law, although they did not specify how.
“I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), a tea party favorite who said he would not rule out pushing for another government shutdown.
House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders announced Thursday that they will hold a hearing Oct. 24 to scrutinize the law’s implementation. They also sent Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter, asking her to reconsider the administration’s decision not to participate.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who tried unsuccessfully to insert a provision in Wednesday’s continuing resolution that would have denied federal health insurance subsidies to lawmakers and their aides, said he will revive the proposal as soon as possible.
“I guarantee it will be back,” Vitter said on Fox News. “I’m not going away, and this issue is certainly not going away.”
More broadly, Republicans have begun to reposition the issue as a referendum in the 2014 midterm elections. Speaking on Fox News’s “Hannity,” Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) said Wednesday night that Republicans will make a strong case against the health-care law next year when “the realities of the law are going to begin to impact people.”
“There is going to be an all-out revolt in this country over that,” he said. “And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it.”
Matt Kibbe, president of the FreedomWorks conservative group, said several Democratic senators up for reelection in red states will have trouble defending the program given its current troubles.
“They’re not going to want to explain the failures of the system,” said Kibbe, whose group plans to hold rallies this month with young people who oppose the legislation’s individual mandate. “If you’re forcing people under penalty of law to sign up for something you can’t sign up for, that’s a problem.”
Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said officials “continue to work around the clock to improve the consumer experience on HealthCare.gov,” the federally run Web site, adding that 17 million unique visitors came to the site in the first two weeks.
Peters would not specify how many consumers were creating accounts or enrolling in coverage, saying the agency would release those numbers next month.