Hoisted on their own petard…[i]
Hegel once said, “The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.”[ii] Now, not even short-term history – like last year! This election season, no one seems to remember that less than a year ago, Insurance Companies were jacking rates up as much as 25% – this time just before the mid-term elections…and by about the same amount, allegedly to ‘pay for health reform.’ A Fact that is angering voters who were promised repeatedly by President Barack Obama that health reform would save families $2,500 a year by 2013.
Republicans are vowing to undo many of the items in the bill or simply cut off funding if they assume power in the House and Senate. For all the GOP chest-thumping about reversing the new health care law, a full repeal, to put it generously, is a long-term project. Even if they retake the House this November, they almost certainly won’t retake the Senate. Even if they retake both the House and the Senate, they’d still have to contend with a Democratic filibuster (for a change). And even if the filibuster weren’t an issue, they’d still have to contend with a Presidential veto. This adds up to long odds, and they know it.
But that doesn’t mean they can do no harm. How? By using Congress’ prerogative to appropriate funds as a key tool if they win back the House. And that’s not just bluster.This is the most serious, yet realistic, possibility for the Republicans if they win a majority in the House. It can work one of few ways:
1) House Republicans could demand appropriation levels beneath what’s necessary to effectively implement the law. They could cut the funding 10 or even 20% – and that could do a lot of damage, yet Obama would be hard pressed to issue a veto.
2) Republicans could simply refuse to fund the entire Labor-HHS appropriations bill.
3) Republicans could pass an appropriation for Labor-HHS that does not include any funds for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which would lead to a presidential veto and a showdown between the White House and Congress.
All of this means that Republicans could be hoisted on their own petard! They have not put together any plans to get people health insurance – and the Census Bureau says that the ranks of the uninsured 30% last year, to 50,000,000 people. If they prevent implementation, many middle class families will lose their consumer protections.
The big problem is that the changes began implementation last Thursday (9/30/10), and despite widespread confusion, the benefits are extremely popular with voters. A Republican push to repeal the bill could spell big trouble for candidates in 2012. Voters already feel taken advantage of by health insurance companies and if Republicans are successful in their stalling attempts, then even more people will become uninsured.
Read more: http://www.modbee.com/2010/10/03/1366323/health-insurance-reform-means.html#ixzz11P9FV9jw
[i] Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet, act III, scene 4, lines 206 and 207. A petard is
a small explosive device designed to blow open barricaded doors, gates and
persons. The petard was a favorite weapon in Elizabethan times.
[ii] Quoted in James Christian. Philosophy: Introduction to the Art of Wondering. 2009 Wadsworth Cengage Learning (Belmont CA) p. 306