TAKING CREDIT FOR MEASURES THEY OPPOSED…. With opposition to the Affordable Care Act fading, I suppose it’s inevitable that Republicans who tried everything to kill reform would adjust their rhetoric. But that’s no excuse for GOP lawmakers taking credit for health care provisions they opposed.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, thinks the new law’s preventive health provisions are just terrific.
Republicans responded to today’s swearing in of Dr. Don Berwick to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by condemning President Obama for recess appointing the nominee…. Kyl began with the standard Republican talking points. He claimed that Berwick will ration health care for American seniors, deny payment for services that were not cost effective and import British health care to America.
But then, in an apparent effort to criticize Berwick’s view of prevention, Kyl took a turn for the unexpected and suddenly took credit for the preventive service provisions in the health law.
Kyl boasted, “Well, one of the things we did in the health care legislation was to provide a lot of different incentives for preventive care, for screening to try to help people avoid illnesses on the theory that it would be a lot cheaper if we didn’t do a lot of treatment that was unnecessary.”
What does Kyl mean by “we”? He tried to kill the legislation, and has co-sponsored legislation to repeal it. The preventive service provisions aren’t something “we” — lawmakers including Kyl — did in health care reform; they’re provisions Democrats passed over Republican objections.
Worse, there seems to be a trend in this direction. In March, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa touted some of the benefits of the law he tried to destroy, and a month later, bragged in a press release about how the Affordable Care Act would help rural Iowans on Medicare.
Soon after, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said some of the popular provisions in the new law “came from Republicans.” This came a few weeks after Boehner characterized the new law as “Armageddon.”
Look, this isn’t complicated. Those who fought like hell to kill health care reform shouldn’t go around boasting about all the good it’s doing. It’s a simple rule: if you vote against landmark legislation, don’t claim credit for what’s in it.