Still eyeing the health care ‘repeal trap’

STILL EYEING THE HEALTH CARE ‘REPEAL TRAP’…. Around Thanksgiving, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), a leading champion of health care reform, came up with an idea for the lame-duck session — force votes on legislation he called the HIPA-CRIT (Health Insurance Protects America — Can’t Repeal IT) Act. It didn’t really go anywhere, but we may see a related idea quite soon.

Ackerman’s push intended to force Republicans 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.

The message to Republicans wasn’t subtle: if you’re so excited about repeal, let’s put that to the test by forcing the GOP to vote to kill extremely popular provisions in the new law. (It was consistent with the “repeal trap” strategy I outlined back in January.)

As it turns out, lawmakers got a little busy during the lame-duck session, and Ackerman’s idea quickly faded. But as Greg Sargent reported yesterday, the strategy hasn’t gone away.

Dem Rep. Peter Welch [of Vermont] — last seen leading the charge on behalf of House liberals against the Obama tax cut deal — is circulating a letter among Dems vowing to introduce amendments to the GOP’s repeal bill forcing votes directly on the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions. […]

Rep. Welch is circulating a letter among colleagues vowing to introduce amendments that will preserve “the elimination on lifetime limits, coverage of individuals up to age 26, the requirement that individuals not be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions and the requirement that preventive care be provided free of charge.”

The game plan, his office says, is to force Republicans to go on record voting specifically on the provisions themselves.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told Greg the repeal debate “gives us a chance to unmake the mistake that we made in 2010 — we shied away from the challenge of explaining exactly what’s in the bill. Polls show that parts of health reform are very popular. That argues for talking more about what’s actually in it.”

Why Dems didn’t do more of this in 2010, I’ll never know.