GOP efforts to repeal ‘Obamacare’ all politics
The Republican Party is stuck on a merry-go-round — instead of ponies to go round on, the GOP uses “Obamacare” repeal votes.
Today marks the 37th vote to repeal all or part of President Barack Obama’s health care law. (The Washington Post has an excellent round-up of the first 36 votes.) The vote is now a political exercise in vanity even House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said health care reform is the “law of the land” after Obama won re-election in November.
The Republicans had two real hopes to undo the landmark law: the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional or a Mitt Romney presidency with a Republican Congress. Obviously, neither happened.
So the repeal vote now holds one purpose: an explanation of how Washington works — politics often trumps policy.
The politics of this vote, the second of this congressional session, is to give GOP lawmakers running for re-election in 2014 more ammunition to show opponents of the law – generally conservatives – that they are on the right side.
This isn’t the first time Republicans have used this tactic to bolster their standing as staunch Obamacare opponents. Each legislative chamber’s budget proposal this year also serve as examples.
The fiscal plan the GOP-controlled House passed contained significant changes to Medicare that Democrats in the Senate would never accept. Seniors would get their insurance from the private market rather than the current government-sponsored plan a decade from now.
While the White House may not be in a public relations nightmare over the Affordable Care Act, its task is gargantuan, rather than impossible like the GOP’s efforts.
It has another four years to sell the law, which may be easier this time around because tens of millions of people may see its benefits by having insurance.
Several of the law’s selling points though have landed with a loud thud.
First, the small business health insurance tax credit garnered almost a couple hundred thousand users, far short of the estimated 4 million beneficiaries. An insurance exchange aimed at small businesses has been delayed until 2015 in most states.
A measure that said insurance companies must provide rebates if individuals or employers were charged too much mostly went mostly unnoticed by consumers.
While the politics of the health care law can still play out a number of different ways, the White House is guaranteed another chance to sell the public on its benefits. The Republican efforts to repeal the law are now all for naught.
- By Andrew Hedlund, Medill News Service