GOP Needs To Have A Seat On Health Care Repeal Pledges

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health care gopDespite all evidence suggesting that it’s in their best interest to do otherwise, Republicans are stubbornly clinging to the “Effie White” approach to health care: “Yes, you, and you, and you…you’re gonna deal with our efforts to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. Already several Republican governors have vowed NOT to enact the law, wishing and hoping and praying for a President Mitt Romney who will repeal the act.

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However, is that scenario as probable as advertised? It depends on who you’re asking.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) appeared on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Sunday and expressed his thoughts on the premise of a GOP-led repeal of Obamacare:

I think they could do it. I think the American people have to understand that if they vote for Romney and they vote for the Republicans to have control of the House and the Senate, there’s a good chance that the health care bill will be wiped out, and all of these benefits will be wiped out.

However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi argued otherwise on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” dismissing repeal efforts as “unrealistic” and declaring that the Affordable Health Care Act puts people “in charge of how they receive coverage and health care.”

According to Pelosi, Republicans “will ask for repeal, repeal of all the things … that help children, help young adults, help seniors, help men or women who may have prostate cancer, breast cancer, whatever it is, any precondition. And everybody will have lower rates, better quality care, and better access.

“So that’s what they want to repeal,” Pelosi said. “we’re happy to have that debate.”

On the opposite end of that debate is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.), who vowed,  “If I’m the leader of the majority next year, I commit to the American people that the repeal of Obamacare will be job one.”

Yet, on Monday he sounded awfully pessimistic about the probability of that pledge, “If you thought it was a good idea for the federal government to go in this direction, I’d say the odds are still on your side. Because it’s a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place.”

If McConnell knows this to be true, then why even bother carrying on with this fight? There is talk of Republicans using the reconciliation process to strip funding for the health care statute, but the president’s former budget director, Peter Orszag, doesn’t believe such a move will pan out.

As Orszag explained to the Atlantic:

“If the Senate does not flip Republican [in November] and/or if President Obama is reelected, you’re not going to see repeal writ large. Even in the configuration where Romney wins and there’s a Republican Senate and the House is Republican also, it is much more difficult to do than many people anticipate.

That’s because the reconciliation process that would allow the GOP to get repeal through the Senate with just 51 votes has technical requirements that could pose arguments, Orszag said.

Reconciliation is intended to be used only for deficit reduction, and the provisions all have to be budget related,” he said. “The official scoring shows that the ACA reduces the deficit, which means that repealing it increases the deficit, so you’ll have to come up with some other something” to make up the difference.

Orszag added that he doesn’t think gubernatorial opposition to Medicaid expansion will last for long given that the federal government will provide an ample amount of subsidies.

All of this begs the question of why Republicans are still pushing this as an issue of urgency when the economical matters are their ticket to winning big in November?

Following the Supreme Court ruling, support for Obamacare has already risen. Though select voters remain confused on the ruling, the more they know, they more they are inclined to support much of the bill.

Public opinion is shifting in favor of health care — and worse for Republicans — independent voters are showing signs of annoyance with lingering opposition obstructionism. According to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Fifty-one percent of all independents, as well as independents who do not lean toward either party, said opponents should ‘stop their efforts to block the law and move on to other national problems.'”

So what exactly is there to change the minds of voters?

Governors like Florida’s Rick Scott getting fact checked into oblivion over false statements about the Affordable Health Care Act? Mitt Romney pretending we all share his amnesia over his health care plan being the template for the one just upheld by the Supreme Court? Mitch McConnell and John Boehner continuing to make promises they can’t keep? That is, without even bothering to offer a real alternative as highlighted in recent interviews.

I’m not one to help “the dark side,” but this looks to be a losing strategy.

For my kind act of the day, I’ll pass this bit of advice by way of En Vogue’s Maxine Jones: When it comes to this health care ruling and the growing support of the measure, “Don’t be down and miserable. You and only you can bring yourself around.”

You will not win this fight, GOP, so you best try starting another elsewhere.

SEE MORE:

Why The GOP Needs To Loosen Up

Democrat’s Holiday Gap

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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