January 19, 2011

After two days of debate which mostly felt like a replay of the mind-numbing debate we watched in 2009 and 2010, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All of the Republicans were joined by 4 3 Democrats (Ross, Boren, McIntyre) (List here). Here are some of the provisions already in effect which they voted to repeal:

  • Excluding children under age 19 with pre-existing conditions
  • Lifting lifetime and annual limits on benefits paid. No longer can a price be put on someone's life.
  • Allowing young adults to remain on their parents' policies.
  • Closing the Medicare Part D donut hole for seniors.

Some notable quotes from the debate:

Michelle Bachmann:

Obamacare is the crown jewel of Socialism...We will vote to repeal the President...We will vote to repeal the Senate...

Rep. Steve King, who thinks pre-existing conditions exclusions are a 'minor thing':

It will not work for us to say there's a certain component of Obamacare that has some merit and so therefore we want to leave that in place and repeal the rest. This is too many pages, it's too cluttered, it's too big an argument to allow it to turn on one or two minor things.

Rep. Phil Gingrey, whose rhetoric was one of the most odious throughout, in his mockery of yesterday's report saying that 129 million Americans would be deemed to have pre-existing conditions:

One hundred and twenty nine million people with pre-existing conditions! They would all have to have hang nails and fever blisters to have pre-existing conditions and if you believe those statistics, I’ve got a beach to sell you in Pennsylvania.

Anthony Weiner, warning anyone playing drinking games during the debate:

"If you take a shot whenever Republicans say something that’s not true, please assign a designated driver."

Yes, we all know it's political theatre, since Harry Reid has already said he won't bring it before the Senate. Of course it is. But it exposes quite clearly the cynical and ugly Republicans for who they are, and sets the stage for the true debate yet to come: appropriations for the different provisions of the bill, including the insurance exchanges.

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