After what seems like eleventy-billion attempts, Republicans have finally managed to get an Obamacare repeal bill out of congress. The bill now heads to the president’s desk, where a certain veto awaits.
The House has passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act on numerous occasions, but in the past, the bills have always stalled in the Senate. This time, the repeal was attached to a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and was moved through the Senate via a process known as “reconciliation,” which only requires a simple majority to move a bill forward. In the House, only one Democrat, Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson, who opposes abortion, voted “aye.” Three Republicans, Richard Hanna and John Katko, both from New York, and Bob Dold of Illinois voted “nay.”
Republicans were predictably giddy about the victory. House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth: ObamaCare doesn’t work.” He forgot to add “because we are making sure that it doesn’t.”
Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen pointed out that the vote, like the dozens before it, was a waste of time, saying that it would take “a nanosecond” for the president to veto it. Assuming an attempt to override a veto would result in a similar, mostly party-line vote, Republicans do not have enough votes in either house to accomplish that. But all of that doesn’t matter to Texas Representative Kevin Brady, who said,
Executing your constitutional right and power to legislate is never wasted if you are fighting for principles your constituents believe in.
Texas is one of those states where Republicans have done their best to sabotage Obamacare. The state is one of 16 remaining that continues to refuse the law’s Medicaid expansion. In every single one of those states, Republicans are in charge of the legislature, the governor’s office, or both. Texas is also one of the states that has refused to set up a state-run insurance exchange. So if Brady is telling the truth, that his constituents want the Affordable Care Act repealed, they are calling for a repeal of a law that many of them know very little about, thanks to Texas Republicans.
Democrats are pointing out that repealing the Affordable Care Act will mean that some 22 million Americans will be without health insurance after 2017, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. “Oh, but don’t worry, we’ll have a plan by the end of the year to replace it,” Republicans say.
This is the same Republican party that torpedoed the plan they called “Hillarycare” over 20 years ago, then failed to offer any ideas about health insurance or health care after they took control of congress in 1995. And it’s the same Republican party that held both the White House and all of congress from 2001-2007, and still produced no bill. Does anyone else think of this when they hear Republicans say “we’re working on something?”
Here’s a report about the Republicans’ very temporary semi-victory, from NBC News:
Featured image via LaDawna Howard/Flickr