Earlier this month, Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) admitted that his plan to introduce yet another Obamacare repeal bill would be unlikely to pass in the wake of President Obama’s decisive re-election. As it turns out, that was an understatement.
In a sign that the GOP’s anti-Obamacare fervor may finally be giving way to political reality, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) latest Obamacare repeal bill doesn’t have a single co-sponsor in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Bachmann made introducing the repeal bill her first order of business for the 113th Congress, even as millions of Americans waited for House Republicans to act on a disaster relief package in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
And two other anti-Obamacare bills — one to repeal the law’s individual insurance mandate and another introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to repeal the whole law — also do not have any co-sponsors. By contrast, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) so-called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” had a total of 182 cosponsors by the fourth day of the 112th Congress, and House Republicans successfully voted to repeal Obamacare a staggering 33 times during the last session — costing taxpayers an approximate $50 million. Public support for repealing the reform law has plunged to an all-time low as Americans begin experiencing its positive effects.
But the latest repeal efforts’ lack of co-sponsors should by no means be taken as a sign that Republicans will embrace health reform altogether. House Republicans can still try to obstruct Obamacare’s implementation by putting the law’s funding mechanisms on the chopping block and attempting to repeal measures such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). In fact, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recently advocated for doing exactly that in an editorial for his hometown paper, and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) went as far as to suggest “civil disobedience” and breaking the law in order to stymie Obamacare.
Still, the full Obamacare repeal effort’s newfound loneliness in the House is a powerful demonstration of the difference an election can make.