Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bold HIPA-CRIT Bill To Force GOP Hand?

I thought this Julian Pecquet article from The Hill was worth mentioning - Democratic legislator Gary Ackerman from New York has vowed to introduce a series of bill next week that are aimed to repeal health care reform.

In case you think you misread that above - a Democrat proposing a bill to repeal health care reform - you read it correctly.  Pecquet wrote the following:
Using 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."
This is a bill after my own heart - a "Sit Up or Shut Up" bill designed to illustrate just what kind of hypocrites the GOP really are.  Some of the consumer safeguards provided by health care reform that Ackerman's bills seek to destroy are the elimination of lifetime limits and annual coverage limits, banning the practice of health care plans for rescinding coverage and denying plans for individuals (and children) with pre-existing coverage, and requiring insurers to retain the children of policy holders until they are 26.

I expect two things - either the GOP to defend these provisions, claiming that they are against the other aspects of health care reform that they are against, or, they refuse to address or vote on such legislation proposed by a Democrat by defining it as a trap, forcing any Democratic-born repeals to fail.  Should the second option take place, Democrats should pounce on the matter, framing the failure of the repeal effort as proof Americans want reform, and not just any reform, but their reform.  My only criticism of Ackerman's bold move is that he should wait until the new batch of representatives arrive in Washington so he can quickly paint them as hypocrites and move on - with repeal legislation out of the way.

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