The No. 33, and the surprisingly bipartisan art of repeal

posted at 5:26 pm on July 11, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

Today marks the 33rd vote the Republican-led Congress has taken to repeal all or part of ObamaCare. Many media outlets are using the stat du jour as sort of de facto proof of repeal’s futility. Look at these silly, extremist Republicans, tilting at government-subsidized windmills 33 times!

The fact is this is only the second vote on total repeal, the first one coming in January of 2011 after Americans elected a wave of 63 new Republicans to, you know, repeal ObamaCare. Both votes for full repeal, in 2011 and 2012, were more bipartisan than the vote to pass ObamaCare, with three and five Democrats crossing over to the Republican side, respectively. And, I know we all love when we can work together, across the aisle, to get things undone. Beyond that, many of the votes on the Washington Post’s list feature far more Democratic defectors to the anti-ObamaCare side than the other way around.

The figure 33, of course, includes all sorts of bills that were only tangentially about ObamaCare repeal, or tweaked small parts of the bill, often with Democratic endorsement and votes. It includes several bills passed with hard-fought compromise later signed by Obama, like the debt-ceiling deal, and other bills that accomplished Obama’s legislative goals, such as the payroll tax cut extension bill.

So, are the House’s machinations futile and extreme?

There’s already been bipartisan cooperation in repealing large parts of the health care law in the House— the 1099 reporting requirement and the CLASS Act.

The very first part of ObamaCare to get the knife was the 1099 reporting requirement. That extremist bit of legislation passed the Senate 87-12 and the House, 314-112, and landed on the President’s desk for signing on April 14. The 1099 reporting requirement was one of the funding fictions ObamaCare supporters used to make it look as if the President’s plan would fulfill his promise not to “add a dime to the deficit.” Post-passage it was almost universally recognized as unworkable. It would have required businesses to fill out an IRS form (1099) for every $600 of staples and printer paper they bought at Target within a calendar year. It closed a loophole, and that loophole was shopping.

When it was repealed, Obama called it “a big win for small business.”

“Small business owners are the engine of our economy and because Democrats and Republicans worked together, we can ensure they spend their time and resources creating jobs and growing their business, not filling out more paperwork,” said the noted extremist.

The CLASS Act accounted for half of the Affordable Care Act’s claims of deficit reduction, but in February of 2012, it too was repealed by the House, with more than 28 Democrats crossing over to help. Obama’s deficit commission recommended its repeal and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted the program could not work in a letter she sent to Congress:

For 19 months, experts inside and outside of government have examined how HHS might implement a financially sustainable, voluntary, and self-financed long-term care insurance program under the law that meets the needs of those seeking protection for the near term and those planning for the future.  The work has been groundbreaking in many ways and has taught us a great deal, much of which is captured in the attached report.  But despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.

Great health care writer Peter Suderman explains why this new entitlement for long-term care collapsed under its own weight:

When the Congressional Budget Office scored the budgetary effects of the law, it counted the $70 billion in premium payments expected to be collected in the program’s first decade toward the law’s alleged deficit reduction—despite the fact that those premiums were eventually supposed to pay for the program’s benefits…

[T]he most likely problem the program faces is the specter that haunts all insurance pools: the death spiral. According to researchers at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, it’s a problem to which CLASS is particularly susceptible. Because premiums won’t be based on health status, the program is likely to prove particularly appealing to the sick. The sicker the population, the higher the premiums required to pay for their benefits. But higher premiums will drive away healthy individuals who need benefits less, resulting in an even sicker insurance pool, on average, which in turn will mean even higher premiums. From there, the insurance merry-go-round spins further out of control: higher premiums, reduced enrollment, a sicker and sicker population, and so on and so forth until the program is composed almost entirely of very sick, very expensive individuals. Indeed, in an absurd twist, the program’s broken financing model could hasten the death spiral’s ugly cycle by scaring away healthy individuals who might otherwise have bought in.

The CLASS Act is still on the books, threatening to fall apart the moment someone tries to implement it. Democrats aren’t anxious to kill off what Sen. John Thune called a “zombie” program for fear of losing the funding fiction it supports and ceding momentum to repeal efforts.

The 1099 repeal was the culmination of an eight-month-long fight.

Nancy Pelosi once said we needed to pass the health care bill to see what was in it. Once we found out, it turned out repealing large parts of it would be a “big win for small businesses,” and save us from giant entitlements without a “viable path” forward. Republicans will and should keep trying to remove these boondoggles, and sometimes it’s gonna take quite a few tries. It always does with zombies.

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33rd time is a charm!
Love you Mary Katharine Ham@

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM

the @ should have been a !

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Do not call it ObamaCare any longer.

It is now, blessed by Roberts, the ObamaTax.

Rush Limbaugh instructed his followers for the same. I read it in the QotD, here, last night.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM

ObamaCare is the millstone around Obama.

November 6th?……let’s hope his political career sinks.

PappyD61 on July 11, 2012 at 5:31 PM

No bounce from it either

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM

PS: please, MKH, lift that testy restraining order against me.

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Republicans will and should keep trying to remove these boondoggles, and sometimes it’s gonna take quite a few tries. It always does with zombies.

I think I’m going to enjoy your writing style, MKH…

cs89 on July 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Do not call it ObamaCare any longer.

It is now, blessed by Roberts, the ObamaTax.

Rush Limbaugh instructed his followers for the same. I read it in the QotD, here, last night.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM

That’s a good strategery, but it’ll require Romney, his surrogates, and the RNC to start referring to it as that now so that people in 2-3 months are so used to hearing it that they know it’s synonymous with Obamacare.

Doughboy on July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

MKH! Wow, what a smackdown!

Red Cloud on July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Indeed, in an absurd twist as designed and intended, the program’s broken financing model could hasten the death spiral’s ugly cycle by scaring away healthy individuals who might otherwise have bought in.

Chuck Schick on July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Seriously, MKH>Ann Coulter>Laura Ingraham
The Boss Emeritus, however, I am not sure. MM is a godsend.

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

ObamaCare?……Lohd Jesus, ain’t nobody got time foh dat!!

Romney /Sweet Brown 2012

PappyD61 on July 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

House Obamacare Repeal: At least there is a record of the fact that ONE – and ONLY one – party supports the American people in opposition to OBOZOCARE / OBOZOTAX.

Note: 30 June 2012, Stephen Moore, Senior Economics Writer with the Wall Street Journal: 75% OF OBAMACARE COSTS WILL FALL ON BACKS OF THOSE MAKING LESS THAN $120K A YEAR – “It’s a big punch in the stomach to middle class families. In 2016, an estimated 4 MILLION Americans will have to pay the mandate OBOZOTAX.” Moore’s analysis has been confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, which NOW projects that OBOZOCARE will cost $2.6 TRILLION over its first decade, thus adding huge amounts to the US deficit and national debt.

TeaPartyNation on July 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

It would have required businesses to fill out an IRS form (1099) for every $600 of staples and printer paper they bought at Target within a calendar year. It closed a loophole, and that loophole was shopping.

So did any journolist / reporter ever asked the Sheikh
WHAT exactly was the purpose of
this 1099 requirement in his

healthcare

law ?

burrata on July 11, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Obama and Boehner do look like zombies.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:35 PM

JUST DEFUND IT FFS

Swerve22 on July 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Doughboy on July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Alas…and we can’t even do it here.

Rs are rotten at communication and marketing, also at grasping opportunities, even the easy ones.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM

senate=walking dead

yes indeedy

cmsinaz on July 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Boehner sucks cigarettes and weeps.
Obama sucks cigarettes and pretty much at everything else.

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM

There’s already been bipartisan cooperation in repealing large parts of the health care law in the House— the 1099 reporting requirement and the CLASS Act.

the passing of the bill was partisan and extreme. Many of those house members (*anthony weiner …cough..) walked the plank for this thing in 2010. They need to keep after it. Just passing legislation making new laws is hardly enough. We are at the phase in our nation’s history when some of them have to be removed from the books.

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Which Democrat Representative stripped naked, ran around the chamber and started biting Republicans?

portlandon on July 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Chuck Schick on July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

I can see single payer from my house.

a capella on July 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Boehner sucks cigarettes and weeps.
Obama sucks cigarettes and pretty much at everything else.

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM

While they golf togehter and Fluke the land. To Hades with both.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Democrats aren’t anxious to kill off what Sen. John Thune called a “zombie” program for fear of losing the funding fiction it supports and ceding momentum to repeal efforts.

so these efforts aren’t futile. You have to kill off a zombie by dismembering it (preferably with a shotgun) piece by piece.

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:42 PM

MHK—already reaping dividends for Hot Gas.

dirtseller on July 11, 2012 at 5:42 PM

MK’s right, of course. TWO votes. NOT 33 votes.
From Congressional Quarterly:

Custom Alert from CQ.com
July 11, 2012 4:06 p.m.

CQ TODAY ACTION ALERT
Custom Alert: Action Alerts

GOP’s Bid to Repeal Health Care Law Wins House Passage

The House voted 244-185 to pass legislation (HR 6079) that would repeal President Obama’s 2010 health care law, which Republicans have sought to overturn since its enactment. The White House has threatened to veto the measure, which is unlikely to advance in the Democratic-majority Senate. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision on June 28 upheld the law as constitutional, ruling that the law’s “individual mandate,” which requires that individuals maintain health coverage or pay a penalty, falls within Congress’ power to tax. The House previously voted 245-189 to repeal the law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) in January 2011, passing legislation (HR 2) soon after the new House GOP majority took control. That measure, however, was never considered in the Senate.

Yiwen on July 11, 2012 at 5:42 PM

just in case you needed some tips on how to kill a zombie. FWIW/

Zombie Kill Guide

Zombies are them troublesome dead walkers that just get in the way of a good night out, they either want to eat your brains or have a quick nibble on your nuts, they are usually slow creatures that are easy to outrun, but in high numbers and in confined spaces they can be fatal, this is a guide of sorts on how to kill a zombie, it is common sense people so in the event of a zombie holocaust it is advisable that you take the necessary precautions against these undead deadites.

First and foremost, when you shoot a gun try and aim for the head shot, because in too many films have I seen some rather dumb people just waste valuable ammo shooting the zombies shoulders and chest, one head shot seems to do it and if you can’t shoot straight, it’s best to go to a shooting range to practice your gun skills, because if you don’t you will probably be that bad at shooting a gun, you will pop a cap in some poor bastards arse who may not be a zombie and that would be bad.

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Now they have to find a way to bring the repeal of the Affordable Tax Act to a vote in the Senate.

talkingpoints on July 11, 2012 at 5:47 PM

And I came here expecting an exposition on the label found on the back of a bottle of Rolling Rock…

JohnGalt23 on July 11, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Boehner sucks cigarettes and weeps.
Obama sucks cigarettes and pretty much at everything else.

the new aesthetic on July 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM
While they golf togehter and Fluke the land. To Hades with both.

Schadenfreude on July 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM

…Hear!…Here!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on July 11, 2012 at 5:48 PM

The fact is this is only the second vote on total repeal, the first one coming in January of 2011 after Americans elected a wave of 63 new Republicans to, you know, repeal ObamaCare.

And, contrary to conventional wisdom, the House more or less had to vote to repeal this second time. Why? When the legislation passed the first time and when the House voted to repeal it the first time, the payment required if one did not purchase healthcare coverage was not considered to be a tax.

Hence, after Roberts made it a “tax”, it was important to repeal it again so the R members could make it clear they were against the resulting tax increase and also to put the Ds on record in support of the tax.

TXUS on July 11, 2012 at 5:49 PM

I like Dr. Tom Price’s take on the repeal:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/309130/price-repeal-robert-costa

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

It always does with zombies.

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Rule 17 – Always double-tap.

dentarthurdent on July 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I still don’t understand why Roberts didn’t, as a condition of saying this monstrosity was constitutional(as a tax), put a disclaimer in there that it also has to be sent back to be redone, since it was passed illegitimately the first time. Since the democrats couldn’t just shove the legislation through this time and would be forced to work on a better solution with republicans, wouldn’t that be the “fairer” thing to do? And aren’t democrats all about “fairness”?!

Sterling Holobyte on July 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

CLASS act. http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8069.pdf

davidk on July 11, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Zombies are them troublesome dead walkers that just get in the way of a good night out,

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Zombies…

SWalker on July 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

..the passing of the bill was partisan and extreme. Many of those house members (*anthony weiner …cough..) walked the plank for this thing in 2010. They need to keep after it. Just passing legislation making new laws is hardly enough. We are at the phase in our nation’s history when some of them have to be removed from the books.

ted c on July 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM

..[assuming my HondaV69 persona] Waddya expect them to do? Surround the White House and start lobbing grenades over the fence or mug Harry Reid in the cloak room? This falls squarely on the shoulders of Willard McDole and the Mittbots, none of whom look as sexy in high-heeled boots as Sarah Palin does. [assuming my Dole Delmonte persona]..

F-

:-D

The War Planner on July 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Repeal is for legitimate laws.

NULLIFY THE BASTARD.

gryphon202 on July 11, 2012 at 6:04 PM

I like Dr. Tom Price’s take on the repeal:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/309130/price-repeal-robert-costa

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Good stuff. Thanks for the link.

davidk on July 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Ahh, bipartisan. John McCain voice: “I just love this bipartisan stuff.”

slickwillie2001 on July 11, 2012 at 6:05 PM

the next journolist thing will be the issue is ‘settled’…everyone’s tired of the conflict (barry/left Won) and now it is time to MoveOn.

I’ve heard that twice already today (once on FNC from a wsj ‘repeater’)

r keller on July 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Zombies…

SWalker on July 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Heh. Never gets old.

davidk on July 11, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Wow MKH…on my radio AND my laptop! It’s a Double Hammy!

ornery_independent on July 11, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Lamestream media is so incompetent. All we hear today is this ’33 futile fails’ meme absent any context – the important part. sometimes I wish I could have lunch with somebody like Andrea Mitchell just to experience the vapidity first hand.

spivey on July 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM

JUST DEFUND IT FFS

Swerve22 on July 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

This. Just, this.

totherightofthem on July 11, 2012 at 6:16 PM

If the GOP wants to do something that’s not purely symbolic, how about passing a House resolution ‘deeming’ that the House resolution ‘deeming’ that Obamacare had passed the House did not in fact pass? Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

PersonFromPorlock on July 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM

“Small business owners are the engine of our economy and because Democrats and Republicans worked together, we can ensure they spend their time and resources creating jobs and growing their business, not filling out more paperwork,” said the noted extremist.

I’m shocked that you would call our president an extremist. What’s so extreme about signing into law the highest tax increase in the history of the nation? Oh, wait…..noted.

Rovin on July 11, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Boehner is getting tough! Tough, I tell you!

A much better vote would be the DE-FUNDING of this monstrosity, but we all know Boehner would never vote for something that actually WORKS.

De-fund this crap, no money for wasteful programs, right?

Ryan is suddenly missing on the biggest waste of money in the economy, which, even while not yet fully implemented not only affects 1/6th of the economy, but costs who knows how many future jobs in the process as well.

riddick on July 11, 2012 at 6:28 PM

“My mama always told me someday I’d be good at something. Who’d a guessed that something’d be zombie-killing?” – Tallahassee, Zombieland

With apologies to Spartacus, I AM TALLAHASSEE!

FogDog on July 11, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Well done, and welcome, um, back Mary Katharine!

JusDreamin on July 11, 2012 at 6:50 PM

the next journolist thing will be the issue is ‘settled’…everyone’s tired of the conflict (barry/left Won) and now it is time to MoveOn.

I’ve heard that twice already today (once on FNC from a wsj ‘repeater’)

r keller on July 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Yes; I also have heard “relitigating past battles.”
Memes.

massrighty on July 11, 2012 at 7:52 PM

JUST DEFUND IT FFS

Swerve22 on July 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Here’s the problem with defunding; cutting off the funding only puts the program in hibernation, only to be revived once the Democrats regain control of the House, which will eventually happen, like Dr. Frankenstein’s heir reanimating the corpse of his ancester’s monster, or to be more in keeping with Mary Katharine’s analogy, as when the lifeless zombies came back in George Romero’s “Return of the Living Dead” after being re-exposed to air in the very beginning of the movie, a classic scene.

Now, do you really want to pin your hopes on the wisdom of the Democrats not to try to reanimate its signature program, be it zombie or otherwise?

I say kill the beast. Drive a stake through its heart, cut off its head, use silver bullets, do whatever it takes to remove this abomination from our midst before it wreaks havoc upon us all.

ariel on July 11, 2012 at 8:47 PM

EXCELLENT post, MKH!!!

ITguy on July 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM

So, how do we get the Republicans in the Senate to filibuster everything else until Harry Reid allows this bill to come to the floor for a vote?

We must put every Senator on the record with a vote either up or down for this bill. There are enough Democrat Senators up for re-election in close races that we should be able to get at least 51 votes for repeal in the Senate. And if the Democrats try to prevent a vote on this bill, then SHUT THE SENATE DOWN UNTIL THEY ALLOW A VOTE ON THIS BILL!

Force a vote, and force the Democrat Senators to go on the record. Either they support repeal, or they go against the electorate’s wishes, less than 4 months before the November Elections. No matter how they vote, it’s a win for conservatives. If they vote for repeal, it goes to Obama and his veto makes him OWN IT… becuase his veto alone kept this monstrosity alive. And if the Democrat Senators vote against repeal, it will be that much easier to defeat them in their next election, whether that be 2012, 2014, or 2016.

ITguy on July 11, 2012 at 10:17 PM

With Zombies, the Double Tap is the rule. Don’t get stingy with the ammunition.

But Zombie entitlements are an altogether tougher problem, and a Thirty-Quadruple Tap is not out of the question…

Haiku Guy on July 12, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Today marks the 33rd vote the Republican-led Congress has taken to repeal all or part of ObamaCare.

MKH, love ya, mean it….but the republicans don’t control congress. They control the house. Your use of the language must be more precise lest the leftists use your own words to try to fool the easily fooled (i.e. democrats) into thinking republicans control the senate as well.

obama plans to run against republicans by painting them as do-nothing extremists, when in fact his own party controls the senate which refuses to even pass a budget. The leftist press has no intention of pointing this out. Please don’t help them.

runawayyyy on July 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM