ACKERMAN’S ‘PUT UP, OR SIT DOWN’ CHALLENGE…. For months, public opinion has been pretty steady on health care — Americans have been convinced not to like the Affordable Care Act, but those same Americans actually like what’s in it. Even many of those who like the idea of repealing the new law balk when told about the popular benefits families would lose.

This has given one Democratic House member an idea.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) is daring Republicans to make good on one of their top legislative priorities: repealing the healthcare law.

Using a somewhat unusual tactic, Ackerman, a strong advocate for the healthcare reform law, vowed Tuesday to introduce a series of bills next week that would roll back some of the most popular provisions of the law.

The congressman said the legislation — all titled the HIPA-CRIT (Health Insurance Protects America — Can’t Repeal IT) — will give Republicans a chance to “put up, or sit down” on their campaign promise to repeal the eight-month-old law.

You’ll notice, of course, that HIPA-CRIT, when spoken, is “hypocrite.”

Touting his idea, Ackerman said, “This will be the big chance for Republicans to do what they’ve vowed to do. These bills will be their chance to at long last restore liberty and repeal the evil monster they’ve dubbed ‘Obamacare.’” In his letter to his House colleagues, Ackerman practically taunted his rivals: “Go ahead, make my day. Become a cosponsor.”

His plan, at this point, is for six separate votes under the HIPA-CRIT Act, forcing members to vote up or down on repealing (1) a ban on rescissions; (2) annual coverage limits; (3) lifetime coverage limits; (4) safeguards protecting adults with pre-existing conditions from discrimination; (5) safeguards protecting children with pre-existing conditions from discrimination; and (6) allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

To repeal the Affordable Care Act, as so many Republicans are champing at the bit to do, would be to eliminate all of these benefits, each of which are extremely popular. Is the GOP willing to put their votes where their mouths are? Ackerman intends to find out. (This is consistent with the “repeal trap” strategy I outlined back in January.)

And as worthwhile as I think Ackerman’s idea is, I can’t help but wonder about one minor detail: the timing.

I don’t mean to tell congressional Dems how to do their job, but wouldn’t the HIPA-CRIT Act have been far more interesting if the votes were held in, say, September or October? Before, you know, the midterm elections?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.