In the weeks since President Obama signed his health care plan into law, Republicans have done more to repeal and replace their own rhetoric than to repeal and replace Obamacare, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said at The Heritage Foundation Bloggers Briefing Tuesday. Yet, repeal is still possible, he said—and should be priority No. 1.
Two days after the health care bill passed, Republicans said they would work to rescind the legislation entirely. Now, some say they’d like to revoke only its most egregious aspects.
“They’re trying to redefine what ‘repeal’ means,” King said.
But Republicans can’t seek to salvage the more popular components of Obamacare if they want to undo its worst.
“If we have to argue about what is redeemable about Obamacare, that means we’ve put the debate over on the Democrats’ side and we’re arguing on their turf,” King said. “Our turf is: It’s got to be pulled out root and branch.”
And, really, King said, even likeable measures — like the federal mandate that insurance policies extend parental insurance coverage to kids up to the age of 26 — can be argued against.
“I’d argue that, if you’re old enough to be elected to Congress and still be on your parents’ health insurance, probably it’s a little bit too big of a bite,” King said. “We should be able to make that argument.”
So, too, should Republicans be able to effect a repeal, he continued.
According to King, the sequence is simple: Republicans just need to sign a repeal bill, bring forth a discharge petition, use the discharge petition as a litmus test against Blue Dog Democrats in the November elections, win back a majority, pass a repeal bill in the new Congress, endure Obama’s inevitable veto of it, shut off the funding for the 2011 and 2012 enactment of Obamacare, and, finally, elect a new president in 2012.
In King’s vision, the new president would literally sign the repeal into law at the podium on the west portico of the Capitol as he finishes his oath of office.
Sound impossible? More than 70 percent of respondents to a poll on King’s website said they thought Congress was more likely to repeal Obamacare than the Cubs were to win the World Series. No Cubs fan, then, would say it’s impossible.
Ultimately, King said, Republicans have to try.
“We cannot have a country that lives in freedom and have Obamacare,” King explained. “They are not compatible.”
At the very least, as Republicans work toward repeal, they’ll prove they’re worthy to win a majority in November.
“We haven’t earned it yet — and I don’t think if the election happened today we would win it — but we’re in a position to earn it back, and this is one of the things we can do,” King said.