What exactly do we have to show for Republican control of government? Here we are, 6 months into what was supposed to be some grand revitalization of America, and my party can’t govern.
The latest installment is the Senate’s failure to pass an Obamacare replacement and the decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push for a straight repeal. The latter option died about as soon as it came out of his mouth, although McConnell maintains that the Senate will vote on a clean repeal regardless.
For all the GOP posturing about Obamacare, this should be a no-brainer. By opposing repeal, our representatives are saying that Obamacare is better than what used to be the status quo in the health insurance markets. If that were the case, why did these same Republicans oppose Obamacare the first time around? This is insanity.
Perhaps the most frustrating development comes from Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Here’s a flashback to Portman in 2014, as Republicans were battling to take the Senate:
WASHINGTON — Though the law will be a year older, Republicans will push a vote to repeal Obamacare if they take back the Senate in November, a top GOP senator told reporters Thursday morning.
“I suspect we will vote to repeal early to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it is hurting our constituents,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), appearing at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “We think health care costs should be going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had. They are worried about the fact that the next shoe to drop is going to be employer coverage.”
As Portman’s remarks indicated, a repeal vote by a Republican-controlled Senate would be a largely perfunctory exercise, designed to register GOP opposition with the health care law once again.
And yet here is the same Rob Portman, in 2017, saying that he couldn’t vote for a straight repeal of a law that is “bad policy” and “hurting our constituents”:
WASHINGTON — Sen. Rob Portman said he could not support a bill that repeals Obamacare without an alternative plan in place — dealing a fresh blow to Senate GOP leaders’ latest efforts to kill the 2010 health reform law.
“If it is a bill that simply repeals (Obamacare), I believe that will add to more uncertainty and the potential for Ohioans to pay even higher premiums, higher deductibles,” the Ohio Republican told MSNBC on Tuesday.
It’s worth noting that Portman represents Ohio, where a fifth of the counties face the prospect of having zero insurers offer plans in the Obamacare exchanges. 20 counties in 2017 only had a single insurer available under this trainwreck. Obamacare is failing Ohio, Portman called for repeal just 2 1/2 years ago, and now he’s opposed. No spine.
Republicans campaigned on repeal. Anything short of repeal is a tacit admission that they prefer Obamacare to the previous free market. We have the majority, and given presidential approval ratings and generic ballot numbers, probably not for long. The Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their majority, and neither should we.
Repeal the damn thing.