House Republicans have made public the text of their bill to repeal President Obama’s health-care reforms. It doesn’t take much time to read it – it’s only two pages long, as opposed to the 2,000-plus page length of the law the GOP lawmakers are trying to reverse.
What’s in those two pages? Is it just bare-bones legislative language?
Not exactly. The first line of the bill, which declares its purpose, reflects many Republicans’ long-held opinion about the entire Obama health-care effort.
“To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010,” begins the legislation.
Translated, this means the bill, if passed, would reset the laws of the land to the moment in time prior to when the health-care bill passed last March. It would also get rid of the fixes to the original health bill, which were included in the companion reconciliation act that the GOP refers to.
That’s pretty much it. There is no picking and choosing in the GOP approach, no striking out the unpopular bits and keeping things the public might like. As the legislation concludes, it would be as if the Obama law “had not been enacted.”
As Harry Potter might put it in a spell, “repairo governmentus overreacheum!”
The Republican leadership is well aware that striking down the law could open the GOP to criticism that it remains the "party of no,” without ideas of its own to address problems of the US health-care system. Accordingly, they have packaged their repeal bill with an addendum – a resolution (also two pages long) that in essence calls for the development of an alternative Republican health plan.
This resolution directs House committees to produce legislation replacing the “job-killing” Obama approach. It also sets goals for this new bill to meet. It’s an ambitious list, starting with “foster economic growth and private sector job creation,” continuing with “lower health care premiums” and “increase the number of insured Americans,” and ends with “do not accelerate the insolvency of entitlement programs or increase the tax burden on Americans.”
The incoming Republican House majority has promised that all bills will be posted for 72 hours prior to action, so Thursday is the earliest day the House Rules Committee can consider rules governing the vote on the repeal bill. The full House will debate that rule on Friday, say GOP leaders. The House vote on repeal itself is set for Jan. 12.