The House of Representatives passed the Senate health reform bill, clearing the way for President Obama to enact a law that will provide health insurance to over 30 million Americans. The bill will also cut costs of the health system and effectively end insurance company abuses for all Americans. While the GOP fought bitterly to kill the bill, they are now refocusing their efforts on repealing reform.
Over the weekend, GOP lawmakers addressed tea party protesters and promised explicitly to repeal not “part of the bill,” but “the whole thing.” ThinkProgress compiled clips of several lawmakers — including Reps. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Zach Wamp (R-TN) — pledging to fight enactment of the bill and repeal it:
HOEKSTRA: On January 3, we’ll start working on repeal, and we’ll do it with all of you. And we’re not going to repeal a part of the bill, we’re going to repeal the whole thing with your help.
BACHMANN: We are putting the marker down now. We are going to continue to fight to repeal this thing and we’re filing it tomorrow.
WAMP: We need to lead the largest repeal movement in the history of this country. And if we can’t repeal this bill, hear me, hear me, if we can’t repeal this bill, everyone governor in America, and if I’m the 49th governor of the great state of Tennessee, we will meet the federal government at the state line to keep them from mandating this bill upon us.
Repealing “the whole thing” would mean re-instituting denials of coverage based on preexisting conditions and rescinding coverage for millions. Regardless, Bachmann has made good on her pledge Sunday night and filed a bill to repeal healthcare reform. In the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) — who hoped to “break” the President by stopping health reform — is introducing his own repeal bill. And on the state level, gay-bashing Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is promising to use a lawsuit to reverse reform.
Some sober-minded GOP politicians, like former Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), have cautioned against a repeal effort and have said it is unlikely to be successful. Rep. Phil Gringrey (R-GA) told CNN’s Rick Sanchez yesterday afternoon that he “does not want” to repeal everything in the bill, noting there are many things — including the exchanges, electronic medical records, expanded coverage for dependents, expanded Medicaid, and expanded consumer protections — that he supports. Even Rudy Giuliani, speaking on MSNBC this morning, said that he is against repealing health reform. But as former Bush speech writer David Frum has observed, Republicans are now captive to a base that perceives reform as an effort to “murder grandmother.”