G.O.P.’s Promise Fuels Partisanship

Sophia Bollag

Last month on the CBS News program Face the Nation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reasserted the GOP’s promise that the newly elected Republican congress-members will try to repeal President Obama’s healthcare bill upon taking office. Because the Republicans, even with their new House majority, will have almost no chance of actually accomplishing this, their continued efforts to oppose Obama’s bill will simply serve to slow the progress of an already sluggish legislative system.

Recently, Republicans have focused more on criticizing the bill’s potential broad economic impact, as opposed to criticizing the specifics of the bill such as the individual mandate, which they targeted earlier in the year. In his interview on Face the Nation McConnell called the bill a “monstrosity” because it “took over one sixth of our economy,” implying that the bill caused healthcare to become more expensive than it has been in the past. This, however, is simply untrue.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) website, the “CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting [Obama’s healthcare] legislation will produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period.”

McConnell’s deliberate deception demonstrates that the Republicans are not opposed to Obama’s bill simply because they “owe it to the American people,” as McConnell would have voters believe, but that they have much less noble, much more partisan motives behind this stance.

McConnell stated that the Republicans’ goal is to “replace [Obama’s healthcare bill] with the kind of common sense reforms that we were advocating for during the debate to reduce spending,” which begs the question, what “common sense reforms” are the Republicans talking about, specifically?

The newspaper The Economist reported last month that “in fact [Obamacare] closely resembles the bill the Republican put up as an alternative to Mr. Clinton’s [proposed health care reform bill in 1994], and that its central idea—the individual mandate—was introduced in Massachusetts by none other than Mitt Romney, who hopes to become the Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2012.” This shows that the Republicans are not necessarily ideologically opposed to the bill. The more they talk about it, the more superficial the Republicans’ argument against Obama’s healthcare bill sounds.

Clearly, the GOP is using this issue as an excuse to incite conflict with the Democrats to win support from independents who blame Obama for the economic recession. Instead of attempting to repeal the bill for show and attracting attention away from more important issues, Republicans should give the bill a chance, and then assess its actual effects on the economy before jumping to potentially incorrect conclusions.