Monday, January 03, 2011

Full Of Sound And Fury

Ah, yes: Congress is returning. On Wednesday, January 5, the 112th Congress will be sworn in and the battles begin anew. It will be a contentious atmosphere: the Republicans, who hold the majority in the House and who made some inroads into the Senate, have promised that much. Their first target is the repeal of "Obamacare."

The repeal effort is part of a multipronged systematic strategy that House Republican leaders say will include trying to cut off money for the law, summoning Obama administration officials to testify at investigative hearings and encouraging state officials to attack the law in court as unconstitutional.

For House Republicans, a repeal vote would also be an important, if largely symbolic, opening salvo against the president, his party and his policy agenda.

“Obamacare didn’t lower costs and does not allow people to keep the care they have if they like it, as the president promised,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, the incoming House majority leader. “There will be a straight vote to repeal it prior to the State of the Union,” expected in late January.

Interestingly, the Democrats apparently welcome the challenge after spending the 2010 campaign season distancing themselves from the healthcare bill. And, if Sunday talk show blather is any measure, they seem to actually be developing a message they can take to the public.

Representative Robert E. Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey, challenged the Republicans to bring it on. “We will respond by pointing out the impact of repeal on people’s lives,” Mr. Andrews said. “On women with cancer who could be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. On senior citizens who would lose the help they are receiving to pay for prescriptions.”

Democrats argue that repeal would increase the number of uninsured; put insurers back in control of health insurance, allowing them to increase premiums at will; and lead to explosive growth in the federal budget deficit.
[Emphasis added]

The message is a good one: it appeals to the emotions (women with breast cancer, the elders and prescription costs) and it strikes at the very issue the Republicans like to claim as their own (the deficit). Such messaging skill would have served the Democrats better if it had been asserted during the campaigns, but its appearance at any time is always welcome.

The chances of a repeal of the law are virtually nil: the Democrats still control the Senate and the president has the veto pen out already. The problem is that the Republicans don't care. They intend to tie up the House with investigations, questioning of administration officials, and meaningless blather. After all, they promised their tea party supporters they would.

And that means that not much will get done in 2011 and possibly 2012.

Nothing new, eh?

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Anonymous Susan said...

Repealing Health Care for millions of people is not something to be proud of. Tell me what planet are these people really from?

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Democrats argue that repeal would increase the number of uninsured; put insurers back in control of health insurance, allowing them to increase premiums at will; and lead to explosive growth in the federal budget deficit."

Interesting argument. Given that since the so-called "reform" the number of uninsured has increased by millions, insurers remain totally in control of health insurance (more so than ever, in fact), premiums have been increasing substantially and there has been explosive growth in the budget deficit.

It would appear that the Democrats have finally and completely lost touch with reality. No wonder the Tea Partiers actually seem rational at this point.

8:38 AM  
Blogger PurpleGirl said...

Sorry, but the Tea Partiers are not rational.

People have become uninsured because they lost their jobs and lost their insurance along with the job. Not many were/are able to pay for their former coverage under COBRA. While there was the COBRA subsidy under ARRA, I was able to pay for COBRA coverage but once that ran out I had to give my my insurance. It was almost as much as my rent is. So I've joined the uninsured, soon to be covered by Medicaid, I hope.

1:03 PM  

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