The "Obamacare Repeal" Fade

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 9 2013 10:19 AM

The "Obamacare Repeal" Fade

Paul Singer is out with a fun piece about the first 100 or so bills introduced in the 113th Congress. No change from previous Congresses, really—the first people into the breach are the ones with doomed bills dear to their hearts, which they introduce every two years.

This, however, is a quiet change from the 112th: "Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced on Twitter that she had introduced the first bill of the 113th Congress to repeal Obamacare." Bachmann introduced the same bill immediately after the Affordable Care Act passed, and she introduced it again in the 112th. But right now, a week after Bachmann introduced the bill, it has no co-sponsors. No one else has introduced an Obamacare repeal bill.

Advertisement

Compare that to 2010. There were nine repeal bills introduced in the 111th Congress, when they had no chance of passage, including one by U.S. Senate candidate Jerry Moran. (He won.)

Compare it to 2011. The new 112th Congress saw three repeal bills in addition to the "Repeal of the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," which was actually supported by Republican leadership, went through the committee process, got 187 co-sponsors, and got 245 votes. (Ironically, it ended up providing cover for a small group of conservative Democrats who wanted to re-emphasize their bona fides to Republican voters.)

What's the reason for the fall-off? Republicans have gotten more strategic about Obamacare repeal and more realistic. They took, as part of the fiscal cliff deal, a couple of chunks out of the PPACA, most notably funding for the CLASS Act, which proved to be an unworkable premium support for at-home care. Early in November, John Boehner ticked off conservatives for suggesting that Obamacare repeal wouldn't happen; he reversed himself by saying it would be "on the table" in cliff talks. But no backlash came when "on the table" meant "we'll take a small piece out of it." The era of flashy repeal stunts is over.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.