Don’t Count on GOP Reform

In a futile effort at turning back the clock, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will attempt to repeal health care reform (aka Obamacare) on Jan. 12, challenging the forces of other Democrats in Washington and potentially leaving its own party on the rocks.

Although the average American will hardly feel the benefits from this health care reform bill, President Obama will undoubtedly veto anything that resembles a repeal. And the Senate is still under the reins of the Democrats — the ones who passed the legislation in the first place. Unless an enormous number of Democrats cross the aisle to undo the reform they voted for, there’s little chance of the Republicans getting the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

Politically, though, this vote will help filter out Democrats standing against Obama, and their districts will be ripe for Republican taking. And if Obama continues to lose good will among Democrats, that will bode well for Palin — I mean, whoever appears on the GOP ticket — next year.

On the other hand, the repeal bill isn’t even paired with Republican reform. Repealing the bill only further stigmatizes Republicans as the “Party of No.” Trying to pass a bill that satisfies die-hard Tea Partiers, who will stop at nothing until Obama is imprisoned (preferably in Guantanamo Bay), is a poor move to reach out to moderates in the upcoming election. To increase its electability for 2012, the GOP needs to move forward and — dare I say it — progress.

Interestingly enough, the Congressional Budget Office recently released a report indicating that a repeal would actually increase the deficit by about another $230 billion, as the bill cuts Medicare and raises some payroll taxes. This puts the GOP at odds with its promises of reducing the burgeoning deficit, yet it intends to continue pressing on, ignoring the CBO analysis.

Republicans can still defund certain parts of the bill, like further Medicaid expansion, without wholly repealing legislation. There’s plenty to dislike about a bill that makes the bank bailout bill look like a Christmas present (Yeah, I said ‘Christmas,’ not ‘the holidays,’ get over it).

Twenty-four physician-owned hospitals halted construction because the bill favored community hospitals, which the American Hospital Association successfully lobbied for. Reform should start with telling lobbyists to take a hike, and then work toward a solution favorable to all — not just certain industries.

Medical costs are one of the driving factors of the deficit, and Republicans should make sure our health care system remains competitive, but still protects the poorest members of society. So, the budget shouldn’t be balanced by cutting Medicaid.

Last year’s health care reform was only a small step toward fixing our medical woes. Republicans now have a responsibility to refine Obamacare so a fair and lasting solution can emerge.

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