Last week, the House of Representatives passed a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), getting the votes of every Republican and three of the few remaining conservative Democrats.
In actuality, however, the GOP is disappointed with this result. Republicans are upset that more Democrats didn’t jump on the bandwagon, as if Democrats were happily going to painlessly dismantle something they worked so hard on. Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said he expected a veto-proof majority, saying they could get the votes of the 40 Democrats who voted against initial passage in March. He doesn’t seem to realize, however, that many of those Democrats lost in 2010 and were replaced by Republicans, which is why they are in the majority right now.
Republicans seem to insist that they will replace the bill, but they say that they are in no rush for to do so. They say that they will replace it with “common sense reforms” that will do things already covered by the PPACA. They seem to love the parts of the bill, but not the whole unit. And they say that they must repeal it before they replace it. And that’s nonsense.
You don’t have to get rid of old laws before we replace them with new laws. We can just pass new legislation that overrides past legislation. In fact, that’s how legislation works. The GOP could easily pass a bill that fixes the parts they don’t like, leaving the stuff they do like in place. You don’t need to get rid of it all.
Let’s consider a parallel example. Suppose Congress wanted to reform the criminal justice system. They could easily pass a bill that changes prison policy, what precautions should be taken and the length of sentences relative to the crime. Or, if they followed the GOP’s path on health care, they could repeal every single piece of legislation pertaining to criminals and just release everyone from the prisons and insane asylums of America. After that’s done, they can say, “Well, now we can change the laws to our content.” Does that sound like a good process?
They say the health care bill creates “uncertainty”, and they say that over and over again. I’m sorry, but if the business world has a year to read legislation and can’t cope, this is a bad sign for capitalism. The business world is doing fine, and many businesses are actually lobbying against repeal.
In fact, businesses have likely been changing their business models to incorporate the new law, so repealing it now will create uncertainty, especially with the higher government deficits, lowered health insurance regulation and subsidies associated with repeals. You can look at this from many angles, but the important part is that there is no “uncertainty” here.
If they can’t repeal it, they threaten to defund it. But remember, the Democrats still have the White House and the Senate. And no bargaining, coalition-building or threats will change anything. The GOP probably knows it can’t win. This is mostly just a put-on for their base.
They try to threaten Obama with “this is what the people want, so do as I say,” and it’s a common political move, but it doesn’t change things. Look at President Bush and the Iraq war.
There’s a reason for having no “replacement” — it’s because they don’t have one. The only solution they have ever offered is either far, far weaker (why would you repeal a law and replace it with something that does a worse job?) or tort reform, which has its merits, but won’t solve the health care crisis in America. They know that this isn’t popular, but they do it anyway.
All in all, I feel that the GOP has no plan for anything. They just oppose President Obama’s initiatives out of partisan spite, and after they undo his legislation, they will propose nothing but tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of business.