With news of the House Republicans offing the health reform bill, one can only think what wonderful symbolic action might be next for them. Maybe they should consider symbolically voting away bad dreams for children as who wants that? Or maybe the should symbolically vote on extending Christmas to be everyday of every year. Both of these symbolic votes would be equally effective to the vote this morning on repealing health reform.
So who voted to repeal the bill from the democratic ticket? Writing in the Huffington Post (1/20), Lucia Graves notes that the three Democrats who backed the repeal were Dan Boren (OK), Mike McIntyre (NC), and Mike Ross (AR). The Hill (1/20, Millman) reports in its “Healthwatch” blog, “Democratic support for the repeal measure fell far below the projections of some high-profile Republicans. Earlier this week, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) predicted this week that 15 Democrats would vote for repeal.” Meanwhile, “earlier this month, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) predicted the repeal vote would gain some bipartisan backing.”
A Promise Kept
So now that the GOP in the House has met their campaign promise to voters, they will have more time to start working on other important issues like these crazy death panels. But what does the public feel about health care reform now you may ask? On NBC Nightly News (1/19, story 3, 2:10, Williams), Chuck Todd discussed the new NBC News/WSJournal poll, which found that “45% oppose repealing” the healthcare law, and “45% favor repealing it. And it is ideological. Democrats are against it, Republicans are for it. It really does split down the middle.” However what the NBC poll doesn’t show is that many that favor repealing, want to repeal it because it is not “liberal enough,” and does not completely socialize medicine as it is in the rest of the free, bankrupt world. (To be fair we are bankrupt too).
So Now Save Us (Symbolically Speaking) from Death Panels & Abortion Funding
“House Republicans will follow their health care law repeal vote with a more targeted attack: legislation to take down provisions that they contend allow for taxpayer funding of abortion.” Politico adds that “anti-abortion legislators will introduce the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act as H.R. 3 on Thursday. The bill intends to prevent federal funding for abortion procedures by codifying the Hyde Amendment, which has long barred federal agencies from paying for abortions.” However, “supporters of abortion rights have long argued that the health reform law does not allow for taxpayer funding of abortion and has the necessary safeguards to prevent public funds from being spent on the procedure.”
Where Do We Go From Here?
Now that the repeal passed through the House it heads to the Senate where it will be debated literally to death, before being upheld by the entirely Democratic Senate. ” While the “Senate showdown may not begin for several weeks,” it “promises to be substantially messier and more drawn out than the debate just completed in the House.” The Times says, “The result could be a return to bitter, partisan gridlock ahead of a budget confrontation in March, when the health law repeal could become intertwined with a debate over federal spending.”
Remember the Republicans have a great old plan to strangle the health bill to death by withholding funding. But of course now the GOP’s real work begins. “The next steps — hearings, testimony from administration officials, funding cuts — lack the punch of a straight repeal vote, but Republicans said they will keep at it, hoping the end result is the same: stalling implementation of the $900 billion law.” In addition, “Republicans promise to hold a series of hearings and oversight investigations into the law, attempt to repeal individual provisions and craft an alternative health care plan. Some of the first issues they will tackle are the cost of the law, the mandate on larger employers to provide coverage and the impact of the legislation on the states.”
And What About Malpractice?
Most importantly (and rightfully so) are proposals to revamp the medical malpractice liability system. Changing the liability system is a longtime priority of many physicians and Republicans, who blame it for increasing health care costs. That is the focus of a Thursday hearing in the House Judiciary Committee that Chairman Lamar Smith said will lay the groundwork for replacing the law.” In contrast, “Democrats have resisted changes — such as proposals to cap damages — and sided with trial lawyers and consumer groups who say injured patients deserve to be compensated,” although “President Obama has said the current system does not serve patients or doctors and indicated he would support alternatives.”