House Republicans have voted to move forward on their 37th repeal of Obamacare and it probably won’t be their last, though they have no plan to actually replace the law.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal the historic reforms, has a new theory about how the Affordable Care Act will be defeated, though she spent much of her 2012 presidential campaign saying the upcoming election would be the GOP’s last chance to kill the bill.
“The issue is now revived,” she said at a press conference Thursday. “We believe that the heat will become so hot that even the president of the United States will be forced to repudiate his signature legislation.”
She apparently said this in all seriousness.
Bachmann is tying the law to the IRS scandal where agents targeted Tea Party groups. And she’s suggesting that the government may use a federal healthcare database to embarrass opponents.
“It’s crucial that we ask these questions now,” Bachmann said. “Today, this question is highly relevant.”
The goal of this 37th repeal is to give freshman Republican congressmen a chance to lose their repealing Obamacare virginity. This will, it seems, give them something to brag about in lieu of any actual accomplishments.
Republicans who support a ‘Gang of Eight’-style reform bill do so primarily because they believe they must to win Latino voters and have a fighting shot in the next presidential election—exit polls showed that Obama won this group, 71 percent to 27 percent, last November. Republican opponents of a broad, amnesty-style reform argue that legalizing undocumented immigrants will do little to win their support (and may hurt the party with the blue-collar males it relies on).
Obamacare is a prime illustration of why they might be right. Latinos support the law at a higher rate than any other group. This Fox News poll from last fall found that 62 percent approved the president’s handling of health care. This Latino Decisions poll found that 66 percent think the government should ensure access to health care and 61 percent want to keep Obamacare in place. According to the government, about one-third of Latinos under 65 lack health insurance, many of them needy. Latinos are also far more likely than non-Latinos (39 percent to 26 percent) to agree that the government should do more to improve living standards for the poor.
But the Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff points out that the constant repeals have effectively confused the American public about a bill — 4 out of 10 aren’t sure if it’s actually law — that’s immensely complicated to implement:
The uncertainty that these repeal votes have created can have real consequences for the Affordable Care Act. There’s fairly comprehensive literature that suggests that when regulations seem like they might get repealed, people resist them aggressively. When the new restriction appears to be set in stone, however, the reaction seems to be rationalization: Trying to think through why the regulation isn’t, in fact, all that bad.
For all their ranting against uncertainty, the GOP is purposely trying to create doubt along with all the practical efforts to actually sabotage the bill — underfunding the law, refusing to set up exchanges, rejecting Medicaid expansion. And by doing this they’re continually wooing the only Americans whose opinions actually matter to them, Republican primary voters.
It’s all pretty silly, so it came as no surprise that the “debate” over the repeal became a hashtag war today on Twitter. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) started it:
Hey folks, #ObamaCareInThreeWords — go!
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) May 16, 2013
And the White House quickly put things in perspective:
— The White House (@whitehouse) May 16, 2013
AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz