Friday, February 18, 2011

"Replace"

A new continuing item, I expect.

The House Republicans acted to repeal ACA back on January 19. Since then, they've, well, repealed it again, or they're in the process of doing so, this time by zeroing out funding in the 2011 continuing resolution. I should expect that they'll repeal it several more times over the course of the next two years, at the rate they're going.

Now, back on January 19, they also promised, as they did in the campaign, that they were actually going to repeal and replace ACA. Perhaps they will! But I'll note that they're about to leave for a recess, and as far as I know no replace bill has been introduced. No hearings on a replace bill seem to have been held. I checked Ways and Means, which has had hearings on ACA implementation but nothing on the repeal bill; Energy and Commerce, which has also had hearings on the effect of ACA; and Education and Labor the Workforce, which had its own hearing on the effects of ACA. Not that there's anything wrong with oversight hearings; to the contrary, that's one of the things the committees should be doing.

Replace, however? Not a trace of it, so far.Well, that's not quite true: I did find a link to an op-ed by five House Chairs, from a month ago, entitled "Repeal is first, not last, step" and pledging throughout that replace is just around the corner:
Replacing this law is a policy and a moral imperative...The committees we lead will tackle these challenges with the seriousness and steadfastness of purpose they deserve. We will pursue changes on which there is widespread agreement as we seek to meet the monumental challenges of a nation on an unsustainable fiscal trajectory.
And as I said, perhaps they will. It's only been a month, so far. And I do think it's fairly likely that they'll bring a tort reform bill to the House floor at some point, although claiming that it would be comprehensive reform, or really do anything significant about either costs or access, would be a major stretch. But of course doing those things is really hard, and a few stale talking points are a long ways from legislation.

So maybe I'll have a new continuing item to run for some time. I guess we'll see.

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