We’ve reached a point in the health care fight where Republicans aren’t even pretending that their efforts to tweak the bill aren’t also intended to destroy it.
Case in point: A new GOP plan to allow states to opt out of the key provisions of the law is intended to undermine it and cause it to fail, its supporters admit.
“If you took half the states out of the individual mandate requirement, this bill falls, requiring us to draft something new, and quite frankly that is the goal,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “To find a way to get the Congress to redo this bill…. We want this bill to come to an end.”
Points for honesty.
Graham has teamed up with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on legislation that would allow states to opt out of the farthest-reaching provisions of health care reform: the Medicaid expansion, minimum insurance benefit standards and the individual and employer mandates. Any state that successfully opted out of any of these provisions would diminish the extent of health care coverage in their state, and throw a wrench in the machinery of the law system itself.
But that’s the goal!
“The number one goal is to repeal and replace,” Barrasso told reporters, standing alongside Graham.
The two are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter, and trying to drum up bipartisan support for the measure. Republicans are currently hoping to use upcoming FAA legislation as a vehicle to vote on legislation like this, introduced as amendments.
Notably, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Scott Brown (R-MA) have proposed allowing states to opt out of the law by 2014 if they meet the health care law’s existing coverage and cost standards.
But that’s not enough for Senate Republicans, all of whom have cosponsored Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) repeal legislation. Brown himself said he’d still support repeal if his measure passed, and Barrasso shunted it. “That doesn’t give the states the option to opt out. That just says they have to live under Obamacare, and they can then run it themselves.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.