On Not Learning Lessons

First, let me offer my sympathy to those freshman Republican representatives who stood by their (misguided) principles, eschewed government sponsored health insurance and are now finding out why the PPACA[pdf] is a good idea. It turns out buying insurance in the individual market is a ghastly business and some of the protections afforded by the new law are there for a reason. Second, let me take a minute to revel in the delicious schadenfreude. As Nelson would say: HA HA!

As it turns out, these reps all campaigned on repealing the law, many with the dire rhetoric that has come to characterize the Right’s inane opposition to the law (death panels anyone?). However, now that they’re finding out that the reforms in the bill benefit benefit people in situations very similar to their own, they’re doubling down on their opposition to the law. One of the more level-headed members, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, saw the problem and said this:

“My position during the campaign and today is, let’s reform the reform or repeal and replace. And so, I wasn’t going vote for it. But I went and spoke to the leadership, and I got a commitment that we were going to bring forward our ideas on this replacement bill.”

So, he’s got a commitment from Republican house leadership that they will be offering the “replace” part of their mantra. Awesome. With this in mind, he’ll vote for repeal. Would he care to elaborate on when the Republican’s plans will be made public? There’s no comment on that one. Given the legislative agenda from the House since their swearing in, we’re liable to be waiting a while to see what they’ve got in store. But wouldn’t their new struggles in the ‘free market’ make them think a little harder about the bill they railed against in their campaigns, perhaps up the urgency in proposing a bill of their own? Evidently not. The fact is, despite their first-hand experience with the problems the PPACA is meant to address, these reps are still against it.

I wonder if we’ve reached a point in American politics when there’s simply no action that conjures up shame or reflection. What will it take?

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