Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 9:03 AM
House Republicans passed the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act* in January 2011, and had a rather easy time of it. It took a mere two paragraphs to pronounce the entire law repealed. Hell, it was fun, or as much fun as you could have when you put the word "killing" in a bill without realizing Gabby Giffords would be shot and you'd have to stop talking that way.
The new repeal bill is less fun. Its name: To Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. It's filled out by boilerplate bullet points such as "the path to patient-centered care and lower costs for all Americans must begin with a full repeal of the law." And it's actually a little weaker than the old bill. As Jennifer Haberkorn pointed out last week, the new bill does not repeal the IPAB -- the "death panel," as someone called it once.
The subsection prevents the House from changing those rules, including through repeal. If the bill repealed the entire law, Democrats could have raised a procedural point of order against the repeal measure and likely killed it, according to a House GOP leadership aide.
Keeping this one subsection — subsection (d) of section 1899A of the Social Security Act — would prevent that.
Another problem comes with a provision that didn't get much attention last year. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who voted against the eventual bill, made sure that it took away special privileges for members of Congress. If they created exchanges, well, everyone would have to live with exchanges. But if the bill was successfully repealed (it won't be, as this will die on the marble floor between the House and Senate), members would move back into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
There we go. One unpopular provision that won't be killed (or threatened); one popular provision that will be ended (theoretically).
*Possibly my favorite ever-name for a bill. Law act!