“…the hilariously hypocritical attempt by Republicans to “fix” a law that everybody knows they would much prefer to burn on the steps of the Capitol while eating great balls of hashish and doing a frenzied goat-dance with their faces painted purple.” -Charles P. Pierce at Esquire
By Doug Porter
Representative Scott Peters, who represents California’s 52nd Congressional District, is a moderate Democrat determined to prove to his borderline Republican district that he can play the bi-partisan game.
I get that. It’s just that you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And Obamacare is that place.
Peters chose on Friday to join with House Republicans in passing legislation proposed by Rep. Fred Upton (R.-MI) that House Speaker John Boehner characterizes as a step towards repealing the Affordable Care Act. Others call it the 47th vote to repeal Obamacare.
From National Review, quoting Boehner:
“Remember the strategy for stopping Obamacare we laid out to you back in July. It had two components: Aggressive, coordinated oversight, and targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation,” Boehner said, according to a person in the room.
“That plan is being executed as we speak. But none of it will be effective if we aren’t communicating. If we aren’t telling the stories our constituents are sharing, then we’re letting them down. It means we aren’t doing our best to stop this law,” he added.
Here’s Joan McCarter from the other side of the aisle in Daily Kos:
Upton’s bill wouldn’t just allow health insurers to keep selling crappy policies to their current customers, it would allow them to sell them to new customers, severely undermining the market reforms included in the law. That’s why Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the bill “does violence” to the law, and is whipping the Democratic caucus against it
Here’s Jonathan Cohn at New Republic on why this bill is a terrible idea:
House Republicans have rallied behind the cause of people getting insurance cancellation notices—and, on Friday, they will vote on a measure that will purportedly allow these people to keep their current policies. The bill might not work as intended, but it might well have another set of consequences. It would allow insurer companies to keep discriminating against the sick, while selling people policies that leave them exposed to crippling bills in case of serious illness.
A vote for the Upton bill, in short, is a vote for everything Americans say they hate about their health care system.
If Congressman Peters actually thought he was getting some political cover from right wing attacks by voting the wrong way on a measure doomed to failure in the Senate, he failed there too, as Carl DeMaio has already spun this crappy vote into political gold on Twitter:
— Carl DeMaio (@carldemaio) November 15, 2013
According to Politico.com, the Obama administration has promised to veto this misguided piece of legislation in the unlikely event it makes it through both houses of Congress, saying “threatens the health security of hard working, middle class families.”
Congressman Peters obviously feels the need to respond to the media reports concerning difficulty with the HealthCare.gov website, along with increasingly alarmist reports in the news media about people getting cancellation notices. Apparently he chooses to ignore the level of public interest in getting a real, affordable health care plan.
The President has reacted to those concerns, has insisted that any company allowing people to keep their current plan through 2014 provide data to customers showing what they’re really buying.
Here’s a quote from the Peter’s press release “explaining” his votes:
“Today I voted for the Motion to Re-commit [the Democratic plan] as well as the ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013’ [HR 3350, Rep. Upton], because we should honor the promise made to Americans. I preferred the Democratic alternative because it gave the states additional authority to control unnecessary price hikes or policy cancellations. I also voted for the Upton bill because, in the absence of majority support for the Democratic plan, it was critical we pass a fix that lets people keep their insurance as promised. The Upton bill was a constructive step in the right direction because it is among the few times the Republican Majority has offered a fix to the law rather than an all-or-nothing repeal or destructive government shut down.
The kind of “fix” Peters has voted for is another GOP’s Trojan Horse, designed to make health insurance reform unworkable. It amounts to sabotage and nothing less.
Here’s Charles P. Pierce at Esquire, starting off by referencing Cohn’s New Republic article:
As usual, Jon Cohn cuts right to the heart of what the essential policy debate of the moment — as opposed to the essential political debate of the moment — regarding health-care and the president’s doomstruck attempt to reform it. Cohn sizes up the hilariously hypocritical attempt by Republicans to “fix” a law that everybody knows they would much prefer to burn on the steps of the Capitol while eating great balls of hashish and doing a frenzied goat-dance with their faces painted purple. At the ultimate, the Republicans are campaigning in support of the status quo ante — a country with 45 million people uninsured, health-care costs exploding, and the greedy bastards who run the insurance companies free to bilk people into buying health-insurance policies that work only when the suckers who buy them don’t need them to do so….
…In other words, the Upton bill, proposed by the “reasonable” Fred Upton, likely would undo not only the effects of the admittedly doomstruck roll-out, but also those parts of the Affordable Care Act that the Republicans have said all along that they like, and that they would keep. That is because they are committed to a profits-over-people model for American health-care — The leading contributor to Upton‘s last campaign was Blue Cross/Blue Shield — and because they are equally committed to the failure of this administration in as many areas as possible.
This has been a special Saturday edition of The Starting Line.
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