The first 100 days are in the rear-view mirror, but some of former President Obama’s most toxic legacies are still along for the ride.
Admittedly, the president and congressional Republicans are working to pass a health care bill. But it’s still unacceptable that Obama’s infamous “death panels” have survived this far into the Trump era.
What’s baffling about it is Democrats have long-since surrendered on eliminating the so-called “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB) in Obamacare, meaning a stand-alone repeal bill could sail through Congress.
Not only would that be the right thing to do, liberating Americans from the Damocles sword of a panel of unelected experts deciding how to ration health care, it would be a huge political victory and momentum-builder while the “big lift” bills are still pending.
Obamacare is wrecking our health care system, but IPAB, while a bad idea, also features a uniquely dangerous legal precedent only Barack “constitutional law professor” Obama could have come up with.
The text of Obamacare actually says it is illegal for the House of Representatives to debate a bill to repeal IPAB, something that both deserves a special rebuke and would also make it kind of fun. (“Mr. Speaker, I rise not only in support of a bill that Obamacare ridiculously claims is illegal for us to debate in this chamber, but of checks and balances and the right to free speech that have sustained this nation for over 230 years!”)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the second-ranking member of Senate leadership behind Mitch McConnell, has introduced a bill to repeal IPAB. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has also released a bill to repeal IPAB.
In the House, a prominent Republican and Democrat are also backing repeal.
In December, a coalition over over 600 health care organizations announced its support to repeal IPAB, calling it “fatally flawed.”
The stars are aligned. Pieces: fallen into place. Everything is all set. Locked and loaded. Ready to rock and roll.
Now if we could just get the guys in charge to pull the trigger on an easy political win that would kill the single most loathsome (and unpopular) provision in Obamacare!
Granted, recent events have demonstrated that when it comes to Republicans and health care, nothing is as simple as it seems. People who spent eight years campaigning on repeal are suddenly petrified by it. The Freedom Caucus are the “yes” votes, and now the Tuesday Group are the “no” votes.
Even still, I’m pretty sure the Grand Old Party can stay unified behind “no rationing.” Even more so when it’s coming from an undemocratic and flagrantly unconstitutional panel of technocrats handed a price controls hammer in search of nails.
Sometimes life is complicated and picking the right strategy is hard. Then there’s the infamous 2008 play by NFL (and former Redskin) DeSean Jackson, then a rookie for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jackson, before a national television audience on Monday Night Football, had connected with quarterback Donovan McNabb for a 61-yard completion, and had only empty field ahead of him as he ran towards the endzone. But just before crossing the goal line, Jackson, in a premature and inexplicable celebratory flourish, dropped the ball, negating the touchdown. The Eagles went on to lose the game.
Republicans fought hard to get into the position they’re in, they shouldn’t drop the ball on IPAB at the goal line. Now is the time to repeal IPAB — STAT.