Some House and Senate Republicans are now admitting what’s been obvious from the start: that the Republican vow to “repeal and replace” Obama’s health law has always been a bait-and-switch.
Phil Gingrey, a Republican Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, tells The Hill’s Sam Baker that there’s no need to replace the law, after all: “I don’t believe we need to have another big omnibus bill that we’re going to roll out.” Senator Jim DeMint says the same thing: “Republicans shouldn’t repeat the Democrats’ mistake of rushing through our own big bill.” Of course, regardless of what they say, all we really need to pay attention to is what they do: no committee hearings, no legislation, no nothing.
Just to make the record clear on all of this: Republicans ran on “repeal and replace” in the 2010 election. After the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in January 2011, five committee chairs wrote an op-ed saying that “replacing this law is a policy and a moral imperative” and pledging that “compassionate, innovative and job-creating health care reform is what's next.” They said they would “hold hearings in Washington and around the country,” and that “repeal is the first, not the last step.” As recently as this January, a key subcommittee chair was still promising that the repeal bill would be ready to go as soon as the Supreme Court rules on ACA.
But of course, none of that happened. It’s all been a fraud from the beginning. Repeal, yes. Replace? They haven’t even held the hearings they promised.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: no, the decision to supposedly switch from a comprehensive bill to a series of smaller measures doesn’t get them off the hook, because sixteen months into Republican control of the House, they haven’t done that, either.
“Repeal and replace” is not the most brazen mendacity that Republicans are guilty of on health care reform — that would be their ongoing campaigning against Medicare cuts in the Democratic bill even as they support much larger Medicare cuts in their own budget. But it’s up there.