Republicans shift focus from repeal to Obama health law’s impact on jobs and cost to businesses

“The president’s new health care law is already hurting our economy,” read a release from the office of House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican.

The release cited “a long list of employers including AT&T, AK Steel, 3M, Caterpillar, Deere and Valero Energy that have felt an immediate squeeze because of ObamaCare’s job-killing tax increases and health-care cost hikes.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday publicly tacked away from the repeal movement.

“While some discuss repeal, the U.S. Chamber believes a more effective approach is to work through all available and appropriate avenues — regulatory, legislative, legal and political  —to fix the bill’s flaws and minimize its harmful impacts,” said Tom Donohue, the chamber’s president and chief executive, in an opinion piece distributed to reporters.

Though Obama and Democrats gained some bounce in public opinion polls after passing health care, Republicans have taken heart in numbers over the last few days.

Democrats heralded the results of a USA Today/Gallup poll immediately after the bill’s passage that showed 49 percent approval and 40 percent disapproval. Those numbers represent an outlier, and another USA Today/Gallup poll released this week showed large numbers of Americans have concerns about the bill’s costs and its impact on quality of health care.

About 65 percent of those polled said the new law will expand the government’s role in health care too far, another 64 percent said it will cost too much, and 58 percent said it won’t do enough to curb rising costs.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released over the weekend showed 50 percent opposition to the health-care plan, and 46 percent support.

Of the 50 percent opposed, 86 percent said they supported undoing the president’s changes, with only 9 percent opposing that route.

Conn Carroll, assistant director of strategic communications at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said, “Repeal is still the goal.”

“I just think conservatives are being honest about the fact that since Obama isn’t going to sign a law that repeals his signature accomplishment, that repeal is just not going to happen till at least 2013,” Carroll said.

“So yes, conservatives are going to be highlighting all of the costs to business and the thousands of lost jobs Obamacare will cause. And, yes, public opinion will only continue to sour on this bill. But the goal is still the same: repeal.”

Democrats will hold them to it, said Hari Sevugan, Democratic National Committee spokesman.

“Either you’re for repeal or you’re not. Republicans have made it clear that they are,” Sevugan said. “That means they now not only support the idea of handing our health-care system back to insurance companies, but want to impose the largest health-care tax hike on middle-class families and small businesses in history.”

“We’re sure that idea isn’t going to be popular at the polls.”

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