We’re one day from the opening of the new Congress, with its Republican-dominated lower House, and Boehner’s caucus has already docketed a January 12th vote on a resolution supporting the repeal of the President’s key healthcare reform bill. Don’t miss the official, campy title: “Instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law.” How many unrelated, unexplained negative descriptors can you fit into a title?
As Senate Democrats have pointed out, the repeal push could not possibly be more of a waste of time. Repeal would not net even a majority in the upper house, and even if it did, the President’s veto still remains. There’s something to be said for letting your constituents know where you stand, but Republicans have saturated the airwaves with endless lies about the reform act for months. Who could possibly benefit, or learn something, from the vote? Already, we’re facing political theater at its worst.
The repeal resolution’s text also manages to highlight the most painful irony of the entire health care debate: Republicans don’t even dislike the Act. They just think they do. Here, the House would direct committees to report out drafts to “repeal-and-replace,” provided the replacement bill would (among other goals),
(3) preserve a patient’s ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it;
(4) provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage;
(9) expand incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs;
(12) do not accelerate the insolvency of entitlement programs or increase the tax burden on Americans.
All of which, of course, is accomplished under the current Act.
I for one can’t wait to see the Republican drafts. Lord knows it’ll be the first time they’ve put policy on the table since early 2008: from the uninspired writing in this resolution, I guess the bill drafters are out of practice. In the meantime, the clock is ticking: once the American people, with gentle reminders from our side, notice the parts of the reform act already in place, repeal will die, and so will Republican support among seniors.