On Health Care Repeal, House GOP All Sound and Fury

House Republicans will hold a symbolic vote to overturn health care reform on January 12. The bill, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and set the nation’s health care laws back to the way they were last March, has no chance of becoming law. The GOP controls the House, but Democrats control the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate Democrats will block the bill.

Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones reports that the 2-page House bill carries no price tag. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA would save $143 billion dollars over the next decade. The GOP repeal bill contains no alternative plan. So, repealing the ACA would be tantamount to adding $143 billion to the deficit. So much for fiscal responsibility.

Why are the Republicans rushing to vote on a doomed bill without even bothering to hold hearings, or formulate a counter-proposal for the Congressional Budget Office to score? Kevin Drum of Mother Jones hazards a guess:

[Speaker John] Boehner [(R-OH)] knows two things: (a) he has to schedule a repeal vote because the tea partiers will go into open revolt if he doesn’t, and (b) it’s a dead letter with nothing more than symbolic value. So he’s scheduling a quick vote with no hearings and no CBO scoring just so he can say he’s done it, after which he can move on to other business he actually cares about.

An opportunity?

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly argues that all this political theater around repealing the Affordable Care Act is an opportunity for Democrats to remind the public about all the popular aspects of the bill that the GOP is trying to strip away.

Last weekend several key provisions of the ACA took effect, including help for middle income seniors who are running up against the prescription drug “donut hole.” Until last Saturday, their drugs were covered up to a relatively low threshold, then they were on their own until they spent enough on prescriptions for the catastrophic coverage to kick in again. Those seniors will be reluctant to give up their brand new 50% discount on drugs in the donut hole.

Another crack at turning eggs into persons

A Colorado ballot initiative to bestow full human rights on fertilized ova was resoundingly defeated for the second time in the last midterm elections. Attempts to reclassify fertilized ova as people are an attempt to ban abortion, stem cell research, and some forms of birth control. Patrick Caldwell of the American Independent reports that new egg-as-person campaigns are stirring in other states where activists hope to take advantage of new Republican majorities.

Personhood USA, the group behind the failed Colorado ballot initiatives, claims that there is “action” (of some description) on personhood legislation in 30 states. Caldwell says Florida may be the next battleground. Personhood USA needs 676,000 signatures to get their proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. Right now, they have zero, but they promise a “big push” in 2011.

Ronald McDonald = Joe the Camel

In AlterNet, Kelle Louaillier calls for more regulation of fast food industry advertising to children. New research shows that children are being exposed to significantly more fast food ads than they were just a few years ago. Other studies demonstrate that children give higher marks to food products when they are paired with a cartoon character. Louaillier writes of her organization’s campaign to prevent fast food companies from using cartoons to market fast food to kids:

For our part, my organization launched a campaign in March to convince McDonald’s to retire Ronald McDonald, its iconic advertising character, and the suite of predatory marketing practices of which the clown is at the heart. A study we commissioned by Lake Research Partners found that more than half of those polled say they “favor stopping corporations from using cartoons and other children’s characters to sell harmful products to children.”

Local elected officials are joining the cause, too. Los Angeles recently voted to make permanent a ban on the construction of new fast food restaurants in parts of the city. San Francisco has limited toy giveaway promotions to children’s meals that meet basic health criteria. The idea is spreading to other cities.

2011 trendspotting: Baby food

The hot new snack trend for 2011 is mush, as Bonnie Azab Powell reports in Grist. In an attempt to burnish its portfolio of “healthier” snack options for kids, Tropicana (a PepsiCo company) is introducing a new line of pureed fruit and vegetable slurries. The products, sold under the brand name Tropolis, feature ground up fruits and veggies, vitamin C, and fiber in a portable plastic pouch. These “drinkified snacks” or “snackified drinks” will be priced at $2.49 to $3.49 for a four-pack, making them more expensive than fresh fruit.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.

Photo credit: clevercupcakes via flickr
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Michael Cunningham

"That's what happens when you listen to Fox you lose the ability to reason"

But it is perfectly reasonable to believe that adding 30 million consumers to the roles of insurance (only 66% of those claimed as uninsured by the way) & that somehow is going to lower the cost of both health care & insurance?
Seems, Helen, that you suffer from the same malady you diagnose for viewers of Fox!

Michael Cunningham

"Lets see if I have this right, maintaining ones stance on stupidity (ie what the party says) is more important than the health of the citizens of this country. "

How is that different than tossing the economic well being of the country in the trash to support the party line that the Government knows best how to run your life?

Helen Delahunt-Avila
Helen Avila7 years ago

Patricia is your head stuck someplace other than on your shoulders because you certainly aren't using it for anything other than decoration. So do you use the ER so the rest of us can pay for your healthcare,,, or don't you give a damn about anyone else? That's what happens when you listen to Fox you lose the ability to reason

Helen Delahunt-Avila
Helen Avila7 years ago

Lets see if I have this right, maintaining ones stance on stupidity (ie what the party says) is more important than the health of the citizens of this country.

Michael Cunningham

"And right away the House Weeper and his Republicans will discard their pledge to open this vote to debate and amendments,instead having a single up or down vote. It looks like their pledge was all sound and fury as well-the $100 billion in spending cuts is now $60 billion-oops $ 50 billion-no,$ 30 billion."

A one page bill needs debate? Do you under stand the different kinds of years?

Alfred Supe
Alfred Supe7 years ago

* Patricia S. says
* Jan 9, 2011 5:04 AM

Obama himself is trying to get the death panels back in! Do the research."

I've done it, Patrica. The most damning I found is this, from


"Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment."

This is nothing worse than a Living Will and/ or Advance Health Care directive. I've been there and done that. Everyone should consider how much they want done to prolong live, should they be in the unfortunate situation where they are not able to give their directives at the time, to their doctors.

I've done that. I had transitional cell cancer of the left renal pelvis, Stage 3-B, and was told after the operations that I had less than a 3 in 10 chance of being alive, let alone cancer free, at the end of 5 years. You better believe that I put in a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order! Trust me, if you are ever in this position, you will want to be the one in control of how much you want done !!

EVERYBODY should have a Living Will and a health care directive unless you like the idea of being in severe pain and not being able to communicate, and the State essentially tells the doctor to take every measure possible to keep you alive!


Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Obama himself is trying to get the death panels back in! Do the research.

Doug D.
Doug D7 years ago

@Paul B. --What plan have the Republicans put out there if there have been many? I'd like to read one, or more, if there really are. I've yet to hear one Republican provide a real, feasible and practical plan. The only thing I've ever seen was a three page document that can be summed up as "we're going back to the way it was."

Tana Williams
Tana Williams7 years ago

Rosemary, I agree 100% Any politician who wants to repeal the ACA should not be allowed to get the excellant care they get at taxpayers' expense. Why should I pay for their healthcare while not having any for myself. And that goes double for those who want to take deep cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Helen Douglas
Helen D7 years ago

The answer to all the above reported issues is education. Instead of listening to the celebrity du jour -- whether it's a politician or a talking head on the news -- intelligent people should do the research to find out the truth for themselves.
If we took the time to educate ourselves on the ACA we could make up our own minds and communicate that to our legislators. If parents took the time to educate their children about nutrition and the false promises of advertisers looking for a quick sale, our children would be much better off and Ronald McDonald would be a non-issue!