GOP GIVES SHADE BUT QUIETLY HELPS OBAMACARE
The News: House Republicans passed a bill that actually improves the Affordable Care Act.
Departing from their usual approach to President Barack Obama’s health care law, lawmakers bypassed floor debate and approved a change that expands coverage choices for employees of small businesses.
The change eliminates caps on deductibles for small-group policies. Business organizations lobbied lawmakers for the added flexibility to help employers offer plans that comply with the law.
The Take: Wait, what? Didn’t the Republicans just take their 52nd vote to defund or repeal Obamacare? Aren’t they running on a message of repeal in the November elections?
Republicans still hate Obamacare, but they love business owners. They say they simply responded to the need of a core constituency. But the politics of Obamacare are never simple.
It was all done last week on the down low. The Republicans purposely hid the fix in an unrelated bill protecting reimbursements to doctors who treat Medicare patients. In an unusual maneuver, the legislation passed on a voice vote without debate. Since when do Republicans forgo the chance to attack Obamacare on the House floor?
The Republican leadership didn’t utter a peep. They couldn’t risk upsetting their base or crowing from Democrats (not much chance of it, since they remain weak-kneed on the law. See post below). So they used sleight of hand while publicly trying to discredit the enrollment goal reached and, of course, taking another useless vote to repeal.
Why did the Republicans patch a law that they have vowed to gut? Because, as the Associated Press explained, “No matter how hard the party tries, the earliest the law can be repealed is after Obama leaves office.” So until then they might as well help businesses come into compliance. But that may yet be wishful thinking if Hillary Clinton or another Democrat wins the presidency.