CommunityThe Bullpen

Republicans Plan To Delay, Repeal, Sue Over Health Care

Republicans think they have some ammo in their chambers they can use to delay or disrupt health care reform. The first shot will get fired at the Rules Committee meeting, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, where every single member of the Republican caucus will try to offer an amendment to the bill. They will all fail, of course. But they might succeed in turning that meeting into a marathon session and putting Democrats off of their timeline.

That’s a delaying tactic, of course, and other tactics in the House or Senate would potentially succeed in delaying but not derailing health care reform. Therefore, the next step would be to try to repeal the bill, as Paul Ryan said today. The problem with repeal, of course, is a guy by the name of Barack Obama. Unless the GOP gains 26 seats in the Senate, I doubt they’d have the votes to override a Presidential veto. When you corner Republicans on this, they admit they can’t actually repeal the bill, though they are likely to continue running on repeal, which they consider a winning message.

Operating on a parallel track are the state-level challenges to the bill.

Idaho on Wednesday became the first state to pass a law saying no thanks to part of President Obama’s health care proposal.

The Idaho Health Care Freedom Act says in part, “every person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.”

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, said Wednesday he signed it because he believes any health care laws should ensure people are “treated as an individual, rather than as an amorphous mass whose only purpose in this world is to obey federal mandates.”

Several other states may follow suit.

Proposals like this, attacking the individual mandate but also health care reform in general, have been introduced in 36 states with almost identical language. ALEC, a right-wing outfit that feeds legislative language to state Republican lawmakers, basically wrote these bills. And I’d expect the well-funded legal arm of the conservative movement to fight to block implementation of the federal bill, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. Whether they would have the votes to essentially reopen the nullification issue is unclear. But we’ll almost certainly get an answer on this before the exchanges and the individual mandate get set into place.

Probably the most likely way Republicans could actually stop this bill from taking effect is to… sit around and watch to see if Democrats can actually round up the votes. Right now it’s not entirely clear they can do that.

Previous post

Health Care Reconciliation: Increases In Affordability Tax Credits Only Temporary

Next post

The Business Of American Business Is Green

David Dayen

David Dayen