JONATHAN CHAIT NOVEMBER 23, 2010
This is a pure legislative stunt, but I like it:
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) is daring Republicans to make good on one of their top legislative priorities: repealing the healthcare law.
Taking a somewhat unusual tactic, Ackerman, a strong advocate for the healthcare reform law, vowed Tuesday to introduce a series of bills next week that would roll back some of the most popular provisions of the law.
The congressman said the legislation — all titled the HIPA-CRIT (Health Insurance Protects America—Can't Repeal IT) — will give Republicans a chance to "put up, or sit down" on their campaign promise to repeal the eight-month-old law.
"This will be the big chance for Republicans to do what they've vowed to do," the 13-term member said. "These bills will be their chance to at long last restore liberty and repeal the evil monster they've dubbed 'Obamacare.' "
Ackerman has begun circulating a letter to fellow lawmakers telling them to "Go ahead, make my day. Become a cosponsor."
"The Affordable Care Act contains these and many other foolish protections for our constituents," the letter states. "So, join other Members of Congress who want to deprive their constituents of these silly safeguards from the big insurance companies. You can cast your courageous vote on a series of SIX bills to do it. Feel free to call it the HIPA-CRIT Act when you explain your vote."
The measures would overturn six consumer protections in the new law that:
• Ban health plans from rescinding coverage;
• Eliminate annual coverage limits;
• Eliminate lifetime limits;
• Prevent plans from turning down adults with pre-existing conditions;
• Prevent plans from turning down children with pre-existing conditions; and
• Require that insurers offer coverage for dependents up to age 26 on family plans.
Republicans are holding votes on repealing just the unpopular aspects of the bill. Why not vote on the popular parts too? Ackerman's proposal is more coherent: you can have an individual mandate without banning discrimination against preexisting conditions. But the Republican proposals to eliminate the mandate without getting rid of the discrimination ban is a recipe for disaster.