By Tony Perkins
While Pennsylvania’s groundhog is seeing shadows, Republicans are hoping to cast one on the future of ObamaCare. After four years of grinding out votes against the President’s health care failure, spring has finally come for Republican leaders. Four times the chamber has tried to sink ObamaCare (seven, if you count the appropriations process), but tomorrow’s repeal vote will be the first under total GOP control. “We will begin the month renewing our commitment to individual freedom and opportunity,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told conservatives.
And for once, they’ll be able to renew that commitment without the brick wall known as Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the other side of the Capitol. With public support for ObamaCare slipping to the low 40s in most surveys, Americans are more anxious than ever to dispose of this “medical waste!”
And the season of tax filing will only make matters worse. People inside the Obama administration are already nervously trying to deflect some of the outrage the IRS’s forms are sure to generate “as uninsured consumers learn that that they must pay tax penalties.” Others are struggling “with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.” The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm,” the New York Times points out.
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For Republicans, who have taken plenty of bites at the ObamaCare apple, the movement is ripe for real reform. Under Rep. Brad Byrne’s (R-Ala.) bill, ObamaCare would be completely repealed and committees would be under orders to come up with a replacement that adheres to a dozen or so key principles on job growth, cost, taxpayer-funded abortion, taxes, if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep it, and other non-negotiables. Unlike past health care plans, this one would be constructed completely out in the open.
Already, three of the GOP’s powerhouses are said to be working in the legislative lab on an alternative as part of a health care task force that would guide the discussion: Reps. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and John Kline (Minn.). The thorn for Republicans hasn’t been the motivation for toppling ObamaCare, but finding the consensus about what to replace it with. Byrne’s office thinks the chambers — and the country — would benefit from a more transparent process. “We need to have some sort of idea on an alternative solution. This is a way to have that without picking one without the input of all members,” said a spokesman. “This gives all members the chance to weigh in on a way to move forward.”
In the meantime, the House is already taking cracks at the law in the new Congress, passing the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act and another that would guarantee insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week (which had the support of a dozen Democrats). Help them take the next step by contacting your congressman and encouraging him or her to vote for the meaningful change Americans asked for last November!
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.