House Republicans eager to vote on repeal of health care reform
Newly elected Republicans in the House are eager to repeal health care reform. House Republican leaders said they will force a vote to repeal health care reform before President Obama gives his State of the Union address Feb. 2. The GOP House vote to repeal health care reform is political theater that will do nothing by itself to change the law.
GOP wants to send Obama a message
House Republicans want to vote on a repeal of health care reform as one of their first orders of business in the 112th Congress. Although they have no viable alternative to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, GOP leaders want to send President Obama a message about their newly won control of the House of Representatives. Republicans are confident they have enough votes to repeal health care reform in the House, but Democrats still control the Senate, and the president ultimately wields the veto pen. Meanwhile, the administration is rushing to implement the health care reform law as quickly as possible.
Politicians versus the public on health care reform
Voting to repeal health care reform outright throws red meat to the right wing Republican base. However, polls have shown that parts of health care reform are popular among most Americans. For example, as of Jan. 1, Medicare recipients became eligible for free preventive care, and seniors now receive government assistance to close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. The White House is counting on health care reform to become more popular as more people realize the benefits.
A petty squabble to get even
By focusing on a repeal of health care reform out of the gate, some analysts think Republicans may be setting their own political trap. During the debate on health care reform, Republicans ridiculed Democrats for not focusing on jobs and the economy. The White House has said jobs and the economy will be its number one priority going forward. A petty squabble to get even for what has been called President Obama’s greatest achievement may not go over well with voters in 2012.