Last Chance to Repeal Obamacare
Among the bills being prioritized in the lame duck session of the 115th Congress, shockingly absent is repeal of Obamacare. Tom Giovanetti, Institute of Policy Innovation President, correctly sounds the alarm in his Dallas News commentary “The GOP Congress should take another whack at Obamacare”. He very succinctly makes the case that this may be our last opportunity since there is no guarantee Republicans will reclaim control of the House. While making the case for repeal, he hedges any bets on passage with a less ambitious objective of repealing Obamacare taxes, correctly forecasting possible insufficient political courage among Republicans.[i] Obamacare was a tax bill not a healthcare bill, raising taxes by over $500 billion dollars in 10 years. This may stem the tide, but Obamacare is like the vampire that can only be eliminated by driving a stake through its heart. We are at this juncture because of unwarranted fears and egos. Forty-four Republican Congressmen are retiring, allegedly because many are term limited from chairmanships. With the incessant media drumbeat of the alleged “Blue Wave”, and constant, unrelenting attacks on President Trump, it was easier to go out on top instead of putting ego aside and being part of the fight to do something great.
“The status quo dies hard. After all, it has one of the most powerful forces on the planet as its ally. Fear. Enemy of change, stealer of ambition, fear is the champion of the half–measure, the checked swing, the almost there. It softens the hard stance, rounds the sharp edge, and dulls the shine of a new idea. None of us pretend to be fearless. But every day we have the chance to decide how much influence our fears deserve. “[ii]
How Much Influence Do Our Fears Deserve?
Republicans came within one vote of repealing Obamacare, stymied by the single vote of an “intransigent”[iii] Senator John McCain. With McCain’s seat now held by Senator John Kyl, who stated that he would back repeal of Obamacare,[iv] it is time for Republicans to deliver on their eight year campaign promise of repealing Obamacare. Two years ago Americans gave Republican lawmakers the White House, Senate, and House so they could fulfill that campaign pledge. To those lawmakers who campaigned eight years on Obamacare repeal, and the forty-four retiring Congressman who may be getting weak kneed at the thought of another health care battle, I say, look at the true statesmanship of Congressman Michael Burgess, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce’s Sub-committee on Health. When criticized for his conservative principles, his reply shows just how much influence his fears deserve: “If my congressional career is over as a consequence of passing things that make things better, I’m okay with that. We’re even.”