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Would Republicans Rush to Repeal Health Law If They Could Make It Stick?

3 years ago
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Would House Republicans be rushing to repeal the new health law if they thought they might succeed? Forgive me for being skeptical, but I think not. Democrats have already done the dirty work and heavy lifting, and taken the political hits, for things that we all know must happen. It's hard to believe Republicans would want to start all over again.
Oh sure, they'd like you to believe the Affordable Care Act is a 2,000-page crap sandwich, as our incoming House speaker once described the 2008 bank bailout bill (and that was only 451 pages). It is big, there's no disputing that. It's got many, many new regulations. And there are certainly things about it that are worth debating. The individual mandate requiring most people to buy health insurance is one of them. The impact on business is another.
But is it really debatable that we must find ways to curb health costs? At a time when a couple with average income will draw Medicare benefits that cost three times as much as they paid in, does the GOP want to repeal the law's 10-year plan to cut the growth of Medicare costs by $500 billion? It's got to be done, as many Republicans have recognized in the past. Erasing the Democrats' work just means they'll have to come up with something on their own, with all the political risk that entails.
And how about all those pilot programs designed to test cost-cutting ideas? Do Republicans want to kill them? There are dozens, including home-based care for the chronically ill, transitional care for people leaving hospitals, penalizing hospitals with high infection rates, paying medical teams a set fee for all services related to an operation, offering hospice services along with aggressive treatment (a combination that research suggests could reduce treatment costs and at the same time prolong life). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office declined to include the pilots in its cost projections, but the ones that work and spread could have major impact.
Then there are the benefits that people already are experiencing -- preventive care with no co-pays, savings on Medicare prescriptions, insurance companies barred from rejecting or dropping people who have existing medical problems or develop new ones, young people without insurance from jobs allowed to stay on their parents' plans. It is not hard to picture Republicans scurrying to reinstate all of those provisions, because they are good politics and good ideas (some of them in fact Republican ideas). But how will insurance companies keep prices down if people only buy policies after they get sick? That's the scenario without an individual mandate.
There have got to be some Republicans looking at public opinion polls without distorting lenses. The exit polls from Election Day showed just about an even split on the health law. And recent research suggests it may be misleading to conclude that the public wants the law gone. A CNN poll last month found Americans opposed the law 54 percent to 43 percent. But it turns out some of the opponents -- probably backers of a public health insurance option cut from the bill -- thought it wasn't liberal enough. The upshot: 56 percent said they supported the law or wanted it to be more liberal.
Repeal would be most pleasing, one would assume, to the 37 percent who said they opposed the law because it's too liberal. When Republicans talk about what Americans want, they apparently are referring to that 37 percent slice of tea partiers and other conservatives.
I have heard House Republicans complain that they weren't allowed to offer amendments on the House floor. I've seen Politifact's conclusion (relatively early in the process) that it's "barely true" that the health law incorporates Republican ideas. Yet it's also true that House and Senate committees considered rafts of GOP amendments, and voted most of them down -- simply a fact of life in a duly elected Democrat-dominated House.
Even more fundamentally, Democrats incorporated many one-time Republican ideas into the bill before and outside of the committee process. A partial list would include the individual mandate, insurance plans sold across state lines, adult children allowed to stay on their parents' plans, pilot programs to limit malpractice awards and lessening favorable tax treatment for health benefits offered by employers.
Substance aside, there are many indications that we are still in campaign season. The repeal bill scheduled for a House vote Jan. 12 is entitled "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" (rhetoric reminiscent of Republican press releases last year that would, for instance, routinely refer to Illinois' Democratic Senate candidate as "mob banker Alexi Giannoulias"). Never mind that one (admittedly liberal) think tank says the law will create millions of jobs and it is already helping more small businesses offer insurance.
So many Republicans ran so hard on repealing the health law that the repeal vote was inevitable. Just as inevitable, however, is that the Senate is 95 percent certain to block any wholesale repeal and Obama is 100 percent certain to veto anything of the sort should it reach his desk. As Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said Tuesday, "This repeal of health care by the Republicans is political theater. It is a kabuki dance."
Democrats have never argued that their law is perfect, and some have stressed that follow-up fixes and changes are a given for every major piece of legislation. So it's likely there will be some constructive proposals from the GOP. But -- as some Republicans no doubt know but can't say -- wholesale repeal isn't one of them.

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130 Comments

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Wendy

I am 53 yrs old and on medical leave from my current job since July of 2010. Currently have a low cost insurance plan. Company requires us to pay for service we would like covered under medical plan. They seam to have restrictions on what can be spent on services, and amount of time one can see doctor ect. and, learning left with bills due to this problem. We all need health insurance, with grantee bills will be paided. There were many years had no health insurance, wish it could of happened. Now that I got something, it is better then being with out no help. The presedent did a good thing by helping amricans get health insurance. The republicans only want to demolish what is good for american people. cost of people having health insurance on a job, costig people jobs, why isn't ecconomy in worst shape at this ime. People I don't beleave are afraid to hire you. The problem has a lot to cost of economics of country, and price to get goods and services. People are cutting back on spending, then it stands reason why economy is in bad shape. Even though I have low cost policy for health coverage, service cost should be listed better to accomade employee. The way you explain benifit should be broken down to help consumer understand company benift. The company offers benifits then one should be offered chance to use it and get best benifit out of service. When every one is mandated to have health insurance in 2014, it will become an issue cost of palans become more affordable. I do beleave things will change, since everyone needs service.

January 17 2011 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vicky

Please be informed; Medicare is not free. Medicare A pays for most the costs of hospital but is has a copay; Medicare B costs over $100 a month and covers the Doctors, tests and equipment at 80 % (which sounds good until you realize most Social Security recipients gets less than $900 a month) and Medicare D covers medication but also has a premium and and copay of up to 25 %.

January 14 2011 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
skeet41249

Have you kmills1019 gotten any quotes on health Insurance? Apparently you have not. I got over 100 quotes on my daughter in law and her son. Do you know what the cost would be on the mother who does not now have any insurance?
Try 250.00 per month,yes resonable, but then you look at the deductible and guess what it is 10,00.00 before insurance pays and then it is 80/20. For smaller deductions like 5000.00, it is 600.00 per month. Now you tell me how people without any insurance and working must get health insurance, how can they afford it. One leading Democrate said "We must pass this Health Care Bill, to know what is in it." Now that is putting the cart before the horse.

January 14 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to skeet41249's comment
Vicky

skeet...the costs you are talking about is why we need the healthcare reform; when it goes into effect there will be companies offering policies that are reasonable and that folks can afford.

January 14 2011 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kmills1019

Just look at how many times you pay for health insurance. Everything you purchase has workmens comp cost built in, your homeowners, your car insurance has an extra charge for health care!
All of these are offered on a for profit basis, the added cost quickly compounds.
If everyone had taxpayer funded health care with nasty safeguards built in for abuse it would free up economic growth.
If your employer was not expected to carry your heath care coverage and gave you half of the cost in salary, $600.00 monthly, and kept the other half wouldn't that be cool?
Even the people on welfare, unemployment and social security would have to contribute.
If you show up at the emergency room with and ingrown toenail or something that could be handled routinely, you just get sent home.

The more people that pay the better.

January 05 2011 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
sfields435

Alan: You are misinformed. The Bill does NOT provide healthcare for "illegals". Section 246 on page 143 of the Healthcare Bill states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." Furthermore, U.S. Law, independent of the bill, prohibits illegal aliens from participating in government healthcare programs. You Conservatives want this bill scrapped -- for reasons that don't exist.

January 05 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
marquisdemorte

"Things we all know must happen"? In what world does this women live, where the only options that are acceptable are the ones the government tells you are? little selfserving venal minds that had serious trouble graduating highschool who ignore all posibilities, except the one that suits their immediate situation and makes life easier for them, reguardless of what impact it has on others!Perhaps the real solution, too lowering the cost of medical care, is abolishing insurance completely!It's called free market!forcing everyone to purchase health insurance, so that you can do away with the high costs of insuring pre-existing conditions, is nothing more that legalized theft! I was not put upon this earth to dictate to , or take care of you! How is it that you feel you were born to do it to me?I dont care if you are in a majority, that does not make you right!If it means war, then you've got it! Or perhaps we should just make further legislation that stipulates: Since everyone is paying for insurance, you can only have one child, and you have to go to the gym 4 days a week, or you cant eat twinkies, or you have to pass an IQ test to get a drivers liscence! How would you like that?

January 05 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Bob

I hope they do! At least someone may read it. I could not believe that the congress passed such a large bill, that means so much to our country, without first reading it to see what is in it.

January 05 2011 at 2:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bob's comment
Vicky

they don't read the bills, they have staff who read them and then give them 'bullet point' presentations on what was in the bill. They all knew what was in there and the bill was in process for months and months.

January 14 2011 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sheldhc

Everyone is missing one critical point about the WHOLE thing: It is the insurance industry itself that is raping this country of it's healtcare resources to please Wall Street. The health insurance industry should be not for profit. Imagine taking those extra BILLIONS in profits posted quarterly and applying that to cover the actual costs to deliver high quality health care and simultaneously reduce premiums to the consumer. Wouldn't we all be better off? Investors on Wall Street can aways find other industries to profit from. Leave health care out of it. Seems like a no-brainer.

January 05 2011 at 2:21 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
tripp

The Health Care Law Obama/Pelosi put together is aweful for the majority of Americans.

Government run Health Care has NEVER been a success.


As a small business owner......this will put many of us out of business.

January 05 2011 at 2:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tripp's comment
kmills1019

I am sure there are a lot of people in Europe and the entire industrialized world would that would disagree with you.

January 05 2011 at 3:34 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
harjacobhar

I wish people would get it - the 40 million uninsured americans does NOT count illegals. As Americans we are always looking to blame some other group for our failures, We need to deal with Illegals in a humane way, but we also need to tell the republicans that HC reform is what we the people asked for when we elected our President.

January 05 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to harjacobhar's comment

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