Djou, Cantor, Most Of GOP Caucus Cave To Steve King’s Effort To Repeal (And Not Replace) Health Reform

After the Affordable Care Act passed earlier this year, many of the bill’s GOP opponents voiced reluctance to join their right-wing colleagues in promising to repeal every provision of the increasingly popular law. Although they voted to kill the bill, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) claimed credit for key provisions in the law. In a conversation with the Politico’s Mike Allen, Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said they will “not campaign for full health care repeal.”

Shortly after the bill passed, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) told CNN’s Rich Sanchez that he absolutely opposes repealing reform, saying he supports pivotal aspects of the Democratic reform bill, like extended dependent coverage, closing the prescription drug doughnut hole, and banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions. In an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this month, newly elected Rep. Charles Djou (R-HI) told us that, although he would have opposed the bill, he views the repeal effort as “not realistic” and would prefer to focus on adding more conservative ideas to the law:

DJOU: It’s just not realistic. What’s realistic is, this measure has passed. I believe it’s bad for our nation, but what can we do to fix it, what can we do to overhaul the bill to make it a better more effective that if we can at least get more people to live with?

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However, today, the Republican House leadership signed onto a radical effort pushed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) to repeal all of health reform, including tax credits to small business, a ban on preexisting conditions, and extended dependent coverage for young adults. Djou, Gingrey, and other lawmakers who suggested they are wary of repealing the law signed onto King’s “discharge petition” to repeal reform last night. Instead of changing the existing health reform law passed by Democrats, GOP leaders are now endorsing the views of King, who has argued repeatedly that he wants to eradicate every single health law that was passed this year. In April, King specifically challenged the GOP leadership, setting a marker down that he would not accept a partial repeal of health reform:

KING: There are some Republicans out there, perhaps even some in leadership, that dont think we should repeal 100% of it. They think “well, we’re just repeal the most egregious parts.” And therefore they don’t want to take argument with things like requiring that your 26 year old be on your insurance policy. I kind of like it when they grew up and went out in the world.

King, a “birther” who says President Obama “favors the black person,” is one of the most extreme voices in the Republican caucus. Following the health reform vote, he floated the idea of secession as a response to the law. It appears King has not only pushed lawmakers like Djou and Gingrey into his “100%” repeal campaign, but the House Republican leadership as well.