This afternoon the House is debating and voting on H.R. 436, the Health Care Cost Reduction Act. This bill will repeal one of the most odious components of Obamacare; the 2.3% medical device excise tax.
While all conservatives agree that the medical device tax is a draconian job killer that must be repealed, we should be leery of “partial repeal” efforts on the part of Republicans. As we noted during other votes on partial repeal, any attempt to eliminate only portions of Obamacare – especially the most unpopular ones – will make it harder to kill the remaining components of the law. Furthermore, these bills, which will never become law anyway, only serve to protect Blue Dog Democrats who are presented with an opportunity to evince an anti-Obamacare stance without voting for full repeal. To the extent that we desire to push “messaging votes” they should involve full repeal of Obamacare.
The bottom line is that we cannot allow the voting public to buy into the notion that we’ve defanged Obamacare from its troublesome aspects, thereby cleansing the rest of the law and making it difficult to repeal in the event that the Supreme Court rules the wrong way.
In that vein, it is disappointing to see that American for Prosperity is key voting this bill as a conservative vote. While we don’t advise conservatives to vote against the partial repeal, this is not a conservative initiative and should never have been brought to the floor in the first place. By key voting this bill, AFP is distorting their scorecard, undermining its ability to accurately represent a member’s voting record. It will allow many wayward Republicans and blue dog Democrats – members who are not sincerely committed to full repeal – to tout their conservative credentials and receive free points.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court will do the right thing in the next week or two, rendering this entire debate a moot point.
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