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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Repeal and Replace -- Maybe... We'll See...

On the 12th, Republicans will begin to fail to repeal healthcare reform. The GOP campaigned on the deficit, the deficit, the deficit, but the first order of business for the new House GOP Majority will be an attempt to kill a deficit reducing bill. It's not jobs, it's not the economy, it's increasing the deficit. Want proof that Republicans aren't serious about anything other than winning elections? There you go.

The GOP has been talking a lot about a "repeal and replace" strategy, but so far, they haven't come up with any "replace" -- there is no bill other than the repeal bill. This is a bit of a problem, since many of the provisions of healthcare reform have already kicked in. This means that these provisions die. You've paid for them, but they'd go away. It's just a grandstanding, time-wasting stunt with no hope of ever being signed into law. To give you an idea of just what empty PR theater this is, consider the talking point title of the bill: "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" [pdf]. I guess "Kill the Commie Obamacare Act" didn't occur to Eric Cantor.

Still think this is a serious effort? Think again.

Palm Beach Post:

Conservatives have acknowledged that with a Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama in office, their hopes of a successful repeal are limited. But the "repeal" bill is meant to energize their base, attract Tea Party conservatives who abhor the notion of mandatory health insurance, and launch the start of a slow campaign to kill health reform through 1,000 cuts -- primarily by obstructing the spending appropriations needed to implement it.

But is it possible to defund the mandate? After all, it's just a tax penalty -- what funding would it need? It seems to me that this wouldn't be within the realm of possibility. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see how it could work. Short of repeal, it's hard to see what they could do about it.

But, on the subject of repeal, here are a few things that Republicans think you don't need -- but that you either have now or will get later this year; insurers have to justify big rate increases, 80% of insurer revenue received from premiums has to be spent on claims, closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole," small business tax credits, a Medicaid drug rebate, health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, expansion of a drug discount program, the ability to extend parents' coverage to children up to age 26, disqualifying children due to pre-existing conditions, restrictions on recissions, coverage of preventative medicine, funding for health insurance exchanges that allow you to choose your provider, and Medicaid payments for infections acquired in hospitals.

That's the short list. And, remember, Republicans have no bill ready to deal with any of this on the off-chance that they succeed with their little stunt. The GOP bill simply returns the US to the previous status quo and asks us to go back to struggling with our healthcare providers until such time as they come up with something different. Maybe... They'll see if they can get around to that.

If this is the Republican plan for healthcare reform, it really, really blows. Democrats should keep on the GOP to explain what their alternative is. Republicans don't want to put anything out there because it provides critics with a target. No plan, nothing to criticize. Or, in the words of Homer Simpson, "Trying is just the first step in failing." No try, no fail.

Tell us what you want to do or shut up about it. Republicans have been talking about "repeal and replace" for a while now. We see what the repeal looks like. Now show us the replacement.


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