The mantra was “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but it’s been clear from some time that Republican leaders in Washington have little in the way of a health plan of their own. As Dana Milbank at the Washington Post amusingly explains, they can’t even support one concept (high-risk pools) that has been in past Republican health reforms plans to help people with pre-existing conditions.
As the article shows, even their plan to gut Obamacare ran into disagreement among themselves about *how* to gut it.
Republican leaders had scheduled a vote in the chamber for Wednesday on a plan to help people with preexisting health problems get insurance — part of a broader scheme by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) to make Republicans appear to care about the little guy. But the conservatives lunching in the Rayburn House Office Building were not biting…
One after the other, they vowed to defeat the Republican leaders’ bill, which they said was not much better than President Obama’s health-care reform:
The wall of conservative opposition appeared to doom Cantor’s warm-and-fuzzy strategy, and party leaders were looking foolish. At the leadership team’s morning news conference, The Post’s Paul Kane asked Cantor if he had the votes to pass his Helping Sick Americans Now Act.
“Well, listen, this is — that is the whip’s purview,” Cantor replied, shifting the blame to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA). McCarthy had no good answer, so he quoted a movie line. “The first rule of Fight Club: We don’t talk about Fight Club,” he said.
He didn’t need to talk about it; House Republican leaders’ actions said it all. At 3:30 p.m., they pulled the bill from consideration rather than let it face certain defeat…
At the conservatives’ luncheon, the nine lawmakers dutifully parroted these arguments. “We’re shifting money from one part of Obamacare we don’t support to another part of Obamacare we don’t support. That’s a non-starter for me,” Amash said.
Instead, the members demanded another vote on repealing the law — “even if it’s just symbolic,” as Radel put it. (For those keeping score at home, the attempt would be the 40th.)
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