Thursday, January 20, 2011

House votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act!

O no!!

As I read one person say, perhaps now they'll move to repeal the president and the Senate.

Perhaps they should repeal the 2006 and 2008 elections, and the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt. Or they could bypass the whole need to repeal the health care law by just voting to abolish sickness and death.

I wonder if they'll hold a vote to officially designate Democrats as the party that's ugly and stupid and smells funny. I bet Dan Boren (D-OK) would vote for it. Maybe they can attach a rider that disowns San Francisco and Massachusetts.

In all seriousness, though, in a way it's the perfect way to usher in the Republican congress. The Democrats ran the most productive House in ages, and one that dealt seriously with substantive issues. Like the results or not, they tackled difficult questions on health care, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, economic stimulus, and other major issues. Their first big splash legislation was the Lily Ledbetter Act, which made a tiny modification to an existing law but with huge implications, stating that the 180 grace period for filing a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act resets with each discriminatory action.

The Republican congress, on the other hand, purports to make a massive, sweeping change in the lives of the people, repealing the ability of college graduates to stay on their parents' insurance, allowing insurance companies to begin dropping you from their coverage if you get sick, re-establishing the Medicare donut hole, and repealing tax credits for small businesses that contribute to employee health insurance, all while increasing the debt by $500 billion over the next 10 years. In reality, however, the vote does nothing. Political theater utterly lacking in substance. It really is the perfect foil for the Democrats and President Obama, who have enacted real reforms over the last two years, but are pathologically, infuriatingly* incapable of scoring political points.

*Yes, infuriatingly (and no, I don't care if that's not really a word). It isn't a compliment to say Democrats are incapable of scoring political points. Not scoring points is how we got a Republican House in the first place. The Affordable Care Act's popularity sank as low as it did because Democrats were completely unwilling to defend it. What, was it supposed to speak for itself? Where were all Democrats insisting that the CBO says it cuts the deficit? Where were all the accusations that Republicans want to reopen the donut hole? That they're in the pocket of the insurance industry? That they care about shareholders more than voters? That they're anti-retirement? That they want to work Granny to death? Where were the rallies in front of those Wal-Mart parking lots where poor people are getting root canals right there on the pavement like refugees?

John Boehner doesn't care about sick people!

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