In what is a major victory for the president, House Republicans will vote on three bills next week that correct small issues and unintended consequences in the ACA.
Politico (via Slate) has the details:
House Republican leaders are planning to bring up three changes to Obamacare next week — but unlike dozens of prior bills, these are more minor measures that are not expected to be controversial. All three bills essentially fix drafting errors, perceived oversights or unintended consequences in the president’s Affordable Care Act. They have bipartisan support and are scheduled to be considered under a suspension of the rules, which limits debate and requires support from two-thirds of House members — a signal that leaders of both parties do not expect any heated debate.
They hold some political significance, however, because they allow Republicans to push back against the Democrats’ talking point that the GOP is only interested in holding votes to pick at Obamacare’s flaws. They also represent the reality that Obamacare is now fully implemented — and not fixing errors could be more damaging to opponents than being perceived as trying to make Obamacare work better.
What makes this news all the juicier is that Boehner and company introduced these bills last Friday while conservatives were distracted by CPAC. The right wingers were screaming about repeal from across the river the Republican leadership was submitting legislation that improves the law. On at least fifty previous occasions, Republicans tried to pass off attempts to repeal the law as improvements. In this case, Republicans are actually doing their jobs.
The answer to why the House Republicans are trying to improve the ACA can be found the polling. The popularity of repeal has sunk to a record low. The vast majority of Americans say that they want to keep and improve the law.
The biggest problem for Republicans is that their just say no to Obamacare position was destined to erode away. The name Obamacare isn’t popular, but much of what the law contains is. As the ACA is fully implemented, more people are seeing the benefits, the repeal position is becoming unsustainable. House Republicans have finally caught on that should they continue to say no, they will be rejecting some very popular elements of the law.
This move by the House leadership is evidence that repeal movement is all, but, dead. Repeal Obamacare has joined Roe v Wade as nothing more than a conservative campaign slogan that will be used in future elections to encourage the Republican faithful to get out and vote.
Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership have a loyal group of a few dozen Republicans, who combined Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats, make up a big enough coalition to pass these bills. Republicans will hypocritically continue to rant and rave publicly about how Obamacare must die while trying to slip legislation under the radar that fixes some of the unintended consequences caused by the law.
House Republican leaders are quietly surrendering on the ACA. There will be plenty more wasteful show votes to repeal Obamacare, but that’s just a bit of theater for the folks back home. Boehner, Cantor, and the gang are throwing up the white flag.
In order for Republicans to take credit for fixing the law, they are doing something that many thought they would never do. They are acknowledging the legitimacy of the ACA.
It’s all but over. These small pieces of legislation mark a major shift, and a big win for President Obama.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association