TOM KLUDT – APRIL 7, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT4264
House Republicans don't want anyone — certainly not Matt Drudge — to get the wrong idea about the latest change to the Affordable Care Act.
Legislation to eliminate the cap on deductibles for small group policies offered inside Obamacare's exchanges as well as outside had bipartisan support. The bill was signed into law by President Obama. And that just won't do for repeal-obsessed conservatives.
When Drudge caught wind of the GOP's apparent apostasy, he splashed a pointed question across his heavily trafficked front page on Sunday: "Republicans Expand Obamacare?"
The headline remained on the Drudge Report's front page on Monday morning.
The headline prompted nearly immediate push back from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). According to the Washington Examiner, Boehner's office disseminated a statement mere hours after Drudge ran the lead story.
In the statement, Boehner aide Kevin Smith insisted that the GOP hadn't expanded Obamacare, but repealed a piece of the law.
Obama, according to Smith, signed a bill "that repeals from ObamaCare a harmful provision designed to prop up the law at the expense of families and small employers."
"The law includes Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-NY) bill (H.R. 2995) that repeals the cap on deductibles for health plans in the small group market," Smith wrote. "Repealing this provision will give employers more flexibility over the type of health care options they can offer their employees, and will expand the use of high-deductible plans paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)."
Drudge linked out to a report by the Associated Press that opened by noting that the House GOP "quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama's health law to expand coverage choices, a striking, one-of-a-kind departure from dozens of high-decibel attempts to repeal or dismember it."
In a foreshadowing of the desperate clarification from Boehner's office, the AP reported that Republicans are "loath to agree" with Democrats, who have described the change to the law as a "straightforward improvement of the type they are eager to make."
"Maybe you say it helps (Obamacare), but it really helps the small businessman," Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) told the AP.