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Sep. 23, 2013

Defund, Repeal and Replace

Congressional Republicans are fighting ObamaCare, but it's an uphill battle.

ObamaCare as it now stands

House Republicans voted Friday on a continuing budget resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 15. The big news, of course, is that the resolution also defunds ObamaCare, drawing battle lines with the Senate. The GOP was able to pass the resolution 230-189 (all but one Republican approved, and two Democrats joined the GOP), but its prospects in the Senate are dire, where Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened, “I want to be absolutely crystal clear: Any bill that defunds ObamaCare is dead. Dead.”

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) promised to do “everything necessary and anything possible to defund ObamaCare,” but theirs is likely an unwinnable battle. After all, since 2010, the House has voted 41 times to repeal, delay or defund ObamaCare, and 41 times the Democrat-controlled Senate has ignored or defeated those attempts. Their latest tactic may actually involve filibustering the bill defunding ObamaCare in order to defund ObamaCare. (See Mark Alexander’s summary of the Republican Strategy to defund, delay or amend ObamaCare.

Last Wednesday, the Republican Study Committee also released its plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare: The American Health Care Reform Act. They even plan to allow Democrats to offer amendments. As Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) put it, clearly referring to the way Democrats rammed through ObamaCare on a party-line vote in 2010, “You can’t pass a bill that’s entirely done by one party that affects every person in the country.”

Another favorable comparison to ObamaCare: The current law was 2,700 pages and has grown to stand 7 feet 3 inches, while the GOP alternative is less than 200 pages. Among its many goals are allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, permitting businesses to pool together for better rates and increasing patient access to pricing. In other words, the focus is on bringing cost down rather than control up.

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