Republicans on Health Care : The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Tweet from Roger Ebert. Image from Daily Kos.

Ain’t gonna happen:
Republican efforts to repeal reform

By Ted McLaughlin / The Rag Blog / March 24, 2010

Health care reform is now law, and in a few more days the reconciliation bill will pass and be signed into law to make that reform even better (although not perfect). There is more to be done, but I don’t want to minimize what has been accomplished. Many millions will be helped by this new law, and those who fought for it have good reason to celebrate.

But there are those who spent all their political capital to try and stop health care reform, and today their hopes are in shambles — mainly Republicans, especially those on the far right like the teabaggers. They are pinning their fading hopes on the hollow assumption that the American public will be so outraged by the new law that they will once again return the defeated Republicans to power.

Many on the far right are now saying they will repeal the new health care reform law, and they are counting on the November elections to give them the power to do that. In fact, the queen of right-wing insanity in the House of Representatives, Michele Bachmann, has already filed a bill to repeal the new law. And soon, Senator Jim DeMint will introduce similar legislation in the Senate.

Both of them know they have no chance to pass this legislation. What they are really trying to do is keep their teabagging followers engaged in the politics of denial until November, in the hopes they will go to the polls in droves and elect right-wing Republicans. And I don’t doubt they will re-elect some and elect a few new ones. It is a peculiarity of American politics that the party out of power will pick up seats in an off-year election, and that will probably happen.

But I seriously doubt they will pick up enough to challenge Democratic power in either the House or the Senate. One reason is that as the public learns more about the health care reform, they will like it (or at least most of it). They will realize that the new law changes things for the better. And the more that people understand the intricacies of the new law, the more unhappy they will be with those who tried to stop it — the Republicans.

Of course this is the great fear of the Republicans. It is why they cannot drop their efforts to overturn the new law. And it is why they will continue to lie and demagogue about the law until the November elections. But can they overturn the new law? No.

Let us assume the worst case scenario — that the Republicans somehow take control of both the House and Senate. I don’t think that can happen, but if it did, can they then repeal health care reform? Again, no. They will still have a Democrat in the White House who will not sign any kind of repeal legislation. That means they would need not just a majority, but a two-thirds majority to repeal. Even the Republicans don’t expect to do that good in November.

But there is another much better reason not to repeal the law. And all but the nuts on the right-wing fringe are very aware of this. What politician of either party is going to tell the American public the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions are a good thing and the insurance companies should once again be allowed to deny insurance coverage on this basis.
  • Government subsidies to help low and middle income families buy health insurance is a bad thing and should be stopped.
  • Recission is a good thing and insurance companies should be allowed to drop the policies of people who become seriously ill.

If the Republicans repeal the new law, that is what they would be saying to the American people. I think most politicians, even Republicans, know it would be political suicide to take back these things. A huge majority, even of those generally opposed to some aspects of the reform, knew these things needed to happen, and they are not about to let any politician take them away now.

Although there were many people who didn’t think the new law was exactly what was needed, there was never a majority of the people opposed to health care reform. That was just the teabaggers, and according to a recent poll, they only make up about 16% of the population. The other 84% knew that some kind of health care reform was needed. Now that it has been passed, they will not be willing to go backwards and give it up.

The river has been crossed, and there’s no going back now. The health care law can, and probably will, be amended and improved, but it will not be repealed. And if the Republicans don’t climb on board pretty soon, they will find themselves even further marginalized.

I hope the Republicans do campaign on repealing the health care reform law in 2012, because that would be disastrous for them. By then, the American public will understand the reform much better, especially the parts that apply to them — and most Americans will be positively affected by the new law.

So bring on the repeal efforts Republicans. It would be a gift for Democrats.

[Rag Blog contributor Ted McLaughlin also posts at jobsanger.]

The Rag Blog

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5 Responses to Republicans on Health Care : The Gift That Keeps on Giving

  1. b.f. made some good points. I give Obama credit for making HCR not fade away into the overwhelming political noise of Washington.

    Once Republicans were convinced that the issue was goint to be dealt with, the Dems blew it by not following a more middle of the road, bipartisan approach. My opinion is that method would have produced better legislation and better HC outcomes for us. ( even though I dont believe the commerce clause gives the federal government authority to regulate HC) It certainly couldn’t have produced anything worse and Obama would have had some political capital left to deal with his other legislative priorities.

  2. EDHS-
    You’re living in a fantasy world if you think the Republicans were going to do anything but vote no on whatever bill was written.

    The Dems will not lose 35 seats in the House (although I wouldn’t mind seeing some blue dogs go down in flames.

  3. b.f. says:

    Probably too early to predict November election results. But if U.S. jobless rate isn’t brought down by October 2010, Dems might lose more seats than anticipated.

    Regarding voter disapproval of recent health care reform bill, following is an excerpt from March 25, 2010 press release of Quinnipac University Polling Institute:

    “Despite passage of his signature health reform bill, President Barack Obama still gets a split 45 – 46 percent approval from American voters in a Quinnipiac University national poll conducted Monday and Tuesday, compared to a negative 46 – 49 percent approval in a survey concluded Sunday before the House of Representatives voted on the health care bill. These are President Obama’s worst grades so far, tying his 45 – 46 percent approval February 11.

    “American voters mostly disapprove of the health care reform 49 – 40 percent, compared to 54 – 36 percent before the vote. But voters say 51 – 40 percent that proposed action by several state attorneys general to block the health care overhaul is a “bad idea,” the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds…

    “Voters say they are more likely to support lawmakers in the November election who voted against the measure and oppose legislators who supported it…

    “By a 38 – 25 percent margin, voters are less likely to vote for House members who voted for the health care bill, with 34 percent who say the health care vote won’t affect their decision.

    “By a 33 – 27 percent margin, voters are more likely to vote for House members who voted against the health care bill, with 35 percent who say the health care vote won’t affect their decision.

    “`The first read from the voters is that they are more inclined to punish those lawmakers who voted for the health care overhaul than reward them,'[Quinnipac Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter] Brown said. `This is a key question. Whether and how these numbers change in the next seven months will tell us whether, in fact, this will be the kind of November Republicans are hungering for and Democrats are dreading.'”

  4. bf-
    You could be right, but I think by November the feeling about the health care laws will be more positive.
    Far more dangerous for Democrats are the jobless numbers.

  5. Hate to say I told you so. But this kind of occurence, is exactly what has driven Tea Party opposition to the Oblama HCR law. And Ted, no it wont be viewed more positive in November. Every day from now till then, will be a new horror story in ObamaCare. Here is todays horror story from the Wall Street Journal:
    This week it became impossible in Massachusetts for small businesses and individuals to buy health-care coverage after Governor Deval Patrick imposed price controls on premiums. Read on, because under ObamaCare this kind of political showdown will soon be coming to an insurance market near you.

    The Massachusetts small-group market that serves about 800,000 residents shut down after Mr. Patrick kicked off his re-election campaign by presumptively rejecting about 90% of the premium increases the state’s insurers had asked regulators to approve. Health costs have run off the rails since former GOP Governor Mitt Romney and Beacon Hill passed universal coverage
    Link to Article

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