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Warning: Clusterfreak Ahead

By The Reverend Published: March 13, 2014

House Republicans are considering a bill this week that delays the enforcement of ObamaCare's individual mandate penalties for five years and uses the savings to prevent a cut in Medicare doctor payments for 10 years.

Didn't see that coming. Not sure whether this new GOP offering is the 50th or 51st attempt in the GOP House to delay or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Hard to keep track....there's been so many.

Republicans were expected to offer an amendment to that bill to pay for this spending by ending the mandate penalties. Late Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a score for an amendment from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to end the penalties for five years.

Joan McCarter weighs in....

The CBO says that, yes indeed, delaying the mandate by five years would cut enough spending—$170 billion—to pay for the $138 billion "doc fix."

No, nothing even close to the House Republicans legislation will ever be passed into law...in the same way that the other 50 attempts to gut the ACA by House Republicans...ever became law.

What's important to take away from this most recent political beating of a dead horse by the House is what it is that Republicans value, what they see as their top priorities.

Delay the ACA individual mandate for 5 years. Take the "savings" from the government not having to pay subsidies for healthcare.gov enrollees and pay the yearly Medicare "doc-fix" gimmick with those "savings." No muss, no fuss......and most importantly for House Republicans anxious to gut America's domestic safety net, no borrowing.

But what about the human cost? Remember humans?

The CBO also said Camp's language would increase the number of people without health insurance by 13 million people in 2018.

McCarter....

Among that group would be about 5 million left out of Medicaid and CHIP, one million who wouldn't be getting employer-based coverage, and 7 million not getting coverage in the individual market.

In addition to that Republican good news....

....premiums would increase 10-20 percent on the individual market during "most" of the years without a mandate penalty.

If the House bill would become law, 13 million Americans will lose the health insurance coverage they just recently obtained and all Americans who still have coverage will pay much higher costs for that coverage.

Why do Republicans think those results would be a good thing?

Because if such a piece of....legislation....passed, then Republicans could claim a "win" over the much-hated Barack Obama. That's it. Republican candidates for this fall's midterms could boast of how they stopped the dreaded Obama and his namesake Obamacare "government takeover of the health care system."

Meanwhile, 13 million Americans would be "on their own" again and all the rest of us will be forced to pay much higher health insurance costs. Think about it...GOP cheap thrills campaign bragging rights to encourage the Obama haters to come out and vote for Republicans in November.....in exchange for....13 million Americans getting kicked off health insurance rolls. I think Fox calls that "fair and balanced."

Although the GOP House bill to take away the health insurance of 13 million Americans won't pass Congress, and if it did, Obama would veto it......the exercise informs us of what will happen if the Republicans take back the Senate and maintain the House this November.

Excited conservative forces in the Village have been getting even more excited lately over the prospects of Republicans taking total power in Congress. Republicans promise tax cuts for the wealthy....and most Villagers are wealthy, so you do the math.

So what would a GOP Congress do with a still-sitting Democratic president?

Here is where I share the really awful news. Republicans have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they cannot, or will not, govern....at least as long as a Democrat sits in the Oval Office. Compromise is a thing of the past. From Gingrich's government shutdown in the 90's to the Tea House shutdown of last year, we have learned that if Republicans don't control everything....they'll simply torch the place with political stunt after political stunt.

If Republicans gain the Senate and keep the House, the years 2015-2016 will be nothing but a clusterfreak on the D.C. front. Congressional Republicans will send bill after bill to Obama's desk....all with poison pills in them to gut progressive policies Americans favor.....daring the Democratic Obama to use his veto pen.

If Obama compromises with "gotcha" legislation from these anti-government forces, Obama will leave office with Cheney-like approval ratings and a fragmented Democratic Party. A win for Republicans. If Obama vetoes the "gotcha" legislation, then Republicans will run against Hillary and the Democrats in 2016 with ads which characterize the Democrats as obstructionists unwilling to respect the "mandate" of the people. Again, a win for Republicans.

Of course, if all else fails....Republicans can always go the impeachment route....something they have been threatening since 2009. That would be a lot of fun, no?

One thing is certain.....should Republicans retake all of Congress this November....the Village may swoon and Republicans may beat their chests.....but Americans will literally despise what comes after.
 

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