115th Congress, Congress, House of Representatives, Issues, Mitch McConnell, Obamacare, Senate

Time for Congress to do its job and repeal Obamacare

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“Do your job!”

Republican members of Congress are hearing this a lot lately.

They’ve been hearing it at staged protests during their town hall meetings.

They just heard it from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for ducking town hall meetings.

They’ll probably hear it (several times) from President Trump Donald during his State of the Union Address.

Image Credit: Jetthebuizel under CC 3.0

Image Credit: Jetthebuizel under CC 3.0

And soon, they’ll be hearing it from the people who voted them in and can vote them out — if they don’t drive a stake through the heart of Obamacare.

In the least, Congress should be able to repeal as much of Obamacare as was repealed last year in H.R. 3762. That passed Congress but was vetoed by President Barack Obama, and would have ended Medicaid expansion, premium subsidies, cost-sharing subsidies, the individual and employer mandates, reinsurance, risk corridors and risk-adjustment, and much of the taxes and spending from the health care law.

Why is this considered such a tough lift? Congressional Republicans have been complaining (rightly) about Obamacare since it passed with zero Republican votes more than six years ago. They’ve voted dozens of time to “repeal” the law, although they never had the power to actually kill it — till now.  They’ve won realigning elections in 2010, 2014, and 2016 — based largely on public outrage with the law.

Republicans promised numerous times to repeal the law — particularly when they were up for election or reelection.

“One thing that all Republicans agreed on back in 2009 is that we thought ObamaCare was a terrible mistake for the country. We still think that, and we’re going to do everything we can in the future to try to repeal it. But that requires a Republican Senate and a different president. We have a math problem in the Senate in getting rid of ObamaCare: 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. I’d like to have 51.” – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, CBS’ “Face The Nation”, 10/20/13

“The president has declared that the debate over government controlled health care is over.  That will come as news to the millions of American who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.” – Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican National Convention, 8/29/12

There are reports that Republican handwringing over disruptive town hall meetings have former Speaker John Boehner predicting no repeal of Obamacare.  Laughing from the sidelines, Boehner said:

“They’ll fix Obamacare, and I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”

Contrary to what former Speaker Boehner (and the few Democrats who are not advocating for a full government takeover of health care), Obamacare is beyond “fixing.”  Already, the impact of Obamacare on the health insurance markets has driven insurers like Humana completely out of the individual insurance playing field.  New data is showing that most of the enrollment “gains” in Obamacare represents the rise in public Medicaid expansion.  And lest anyone forget, the heart of Obamacare rests in government — mandates, subsidies, and control over nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product.

At this point, the fight over Obamacare is really a political one.  Do Republicans in Congress have the intestinal fortitude to fulfill their longstanding promises to the people who voted for them? Or will they back down amidst claims by Democrats, the media, and the liberal echo chamber, that Republicans now “own” the issue?

Congressional Republicans have had seven years to develop a consensus Obamacare alternative that makes health care affordable and accessible.   You have your majorities.  You have a new President not named Obama.

You need only now to do your jobs   If you don’t, you might find yourselves looking for new ones.

This is a guest post by Peter Hong a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.

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