Posted Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, at 9:30 AM
Ezra Klein is wrong here.
The worst portent for health-care reform last night wasn't the repeal vote itself, but what didn't come with it: Any replacement bill that Republicans were committed to passing. The second half of the Republican strategy on health-care reform -- you remember "repeal and replace" right? -- was, in the GOP House's first major initiative, simply dropped.
But it hasn't been dropped. Repeal was HR 2. Right now the House is debating HR 9: "Instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the Job-Killing Health Care Law." That was the plan. Step One: Pass a repeal bill that everybody knows can't go further than the House, to get on record fulfilling a Tea Party promise. Step Two: Craft replacement legislation and ways to defund portions of "ObamaCare" in the committees. Several Democrats I spoke to yesterday, like Rep. Jared Polis and Rep. William Lipinski, said they were ready to work with Republicans to, respectively, repeal the 1099 provision of health care reform and to get tougher on abortion funding.
Republicans won't be able to "repeal and replace." They're doing "try to repeal, shrug, then replace anyway."