You almost have to feel sorry for the Republican party this year. Their tactics of screaming loudly, encouraging their followers to scream incoherently, and basically kicking and yelling “no!” have failed to prevent the (watered down) health care reform bill from passing. Already, they plan to introduce legislation to repeal it. Since they could never produce more than a dozen pages of counterproposal, I suppose a “make it go away” bill is about the right length for their proven abilities.
One thing that seems to be a truism in American politics is that everyone is against government spending except when it is something they want. Also, every new entitlement becomes an entrenched permanent benefit as soon as it becomes law. Look at the fact that we still have tobacco farming subsidies, even while we do our darnedest to make tobacco usage less popular than a vampiric leper zombie.
Now that the health care reform bill has become law, the GOP is in the unenviable position of trying to reduce benefits and remove people’s health insurance. It’s easy to rant against the evils of socialism, all while ignoring that many of our institutions are socialized (police, fire, road work, military, yada yada). It’s a lot harder to tell people that, for their own good, you’re going to make it okay for insurance companies to more easily deny coverage to their sick mother. Not to mention, the CBO came out with their estimate that this bill will reduce the deficit, which makes the “it costs too much” rhetoric feel a little hokey.
Some of the provisions of the health care reform bill that become effective this year:
- Insurance companies can’t drop your coverage if you become sick while insured
- Parents can insure adult children up to 26 years old
- The Medicare “donut hole” will get a rebate, eventually becoming a solid bismarck-like holeless mass
- Children will not be barred for pre-existing conditions
- Lifetime coverage limits will be gone
- Small businesses will get a tax credit to help provide health insurance for their employees
Of course, John Boehner is upset that one other provision goes into effect this year: tanning beds get a 10% additional tax. I love that taxes are seemingly randomly associated with anything they are meant to assist, but tanning salons? Weird.
So the GOP is going to be campaigning this year to repeal this law. They will be out there telling their constituents and voters that they want senior citizens to pay $250 more for their medication, that they want to deprive small businesses of a tax credit, that they want to deny coverage to little Jimmy with leukemia… yeah, that’ll work.