REPUBLICANS HATE HEALTH CARE REFORM — EXCEPT FOR ALL THE GOOD PARTS…. It was remarkably common for about a year to see congressional Republicans railing against the Recovery Act at every available opportunity, insisting that economic stimulus is pointless and ineffective, only to show up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at projects in their districts. The same public investments that drew scowls in DC sparked smiles back home.
Of course, the hypocrisy isn’t limited to the Recovery Act.
Like many Republicans, freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) campaigned for office last year on a promise to repeal health reform. He accused his Democratic opponent, Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN), of attempting a “smoke-and-mirrors ploy to implement socialized medicine.” And once joining Congress, DesJarlais voted to repeal the entire bill.
However, only four months into office, DesJarlais’ office appears to be touting a successful health reform program. According to the Crossvile Chronicle, a representative from DesJarlais’ district office was on hand last week for a groundbreaking ceremony to hand over nearly $4.5 million in grant money — entirely funded by the Affordable Care Act — for the construction of a community health clinic in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Gregg Ridley, a staffer for DesJarlais, even posed for a photo-op with a giant ceremonial check to local officials to take credit for making the grant possible.
This is a glaring example — DesJarlais deserves some kind of Chutzpah of the Week award — but this happens all the time. Republicans who consider the Affordable Care Act some kind of Nazi/communist/satanic plot still run home to their constituents to brag about what’s actually in the law, as if they had something to do with its passage, and request that ACA funding be directed to their communities.
It’s one of the reasons the “repeal” push has largely been a sham. Republicans know it’s a risk-free move — there’s no way the White House or a Democratic Senate would go along, and they don’t have to worry about killing provisions they actually want and brag about.
Ideally, voters in DesJarlais’ district would know better, but I suppose that’s asking too much.