Even ‘repeal and replace’ isn’t good enough for the far-right

EVEN ‘REPEAL AND REPLACE’ ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE FAR-RIGHT…. The health care strategy for congressional Republicans isn’t exactly a secret. As the leadership has explained, they intend to gut the Affordable Care Act, scrapping the entirety of the law, and replacing it with a GOP-friendly version with details to be worked out later.

It’s a pretty aggressive far-right tactic, which probably won’t work especially well — “repeal and replace” would need to get through the Senate (which it won’t) and get presidential approval (which is out of the question).

But as it turns out, some notable right-wing congressional Republicans don’t think it’s good enough.

Tea Party lawmakers are balking at the House Republican leadership’s plan to simultaneously repeal and replace President Obama’s healthcare law.

The resistance from conservative lawmakers is a clear indication of the challenge Republican leaders face in their uphill battle to rescind the law. The emerging friction in the GOP conference also reflects the difficult transition from campaigning in the minority party to governing in the majority.

Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) say Republicans should repeal the law without attaching a proposal to replace it.

In other words, for the truly unhinged wing of the GOP, it’s not enough to simply get rid of popular health care benefits that help families and businesses; Republicans have to kill the provisions and then consider some new system at a later date.

I continue to think this will be one of the more interesting areas of intra-party strife for the GOP in the new year. Even Republican leaders don’t seem sure of themselves — two weeks ago, in incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told party activists the caucus would push “a full repeal” of the health care reform bill. This week, The Hill reported that Cantor won’t seek to “completely scrap the healthcare reform law.”

This is likely to get a little messy. Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), who’s likely to chair the House Rules Committee in the next Congress, said last week that a “full” repeal isn’t really the plan, taking a similar line to what Cantor said on Monday. Obviously, Bachmann, King, and their wild-eyed cohorts will deem that unacceptable.

For that matter, if the Bachmann/King line is evidence of the base’s perspective, Tea Party zealots won’t tolerate anything short of a full repeal, either.

There are a few areas of serious intra-party strife next year. The approach to health care policy should be considered near the top.