HOUSE GOP EFFECTIVELY GIVES UP ON REPEALING ACA…. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) effectively killed Medicare privatization this morning, explaining that he doesn’t see the point of his committee wasting time on it if the proposal is just doing to die in the Senate anyway.

But he expounded on another interesting subject, too.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged Thursday that Republican plans to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law were “dead.” Instead, Camp predicted, the GOP would turn its focus to overturning the most controversial portion of that legislation: the mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance.

“Obviously, I voted to repeal the bill and you pretty much know where I am on replacement because I put out a bill last year on that,” Camp said. “Is the repeal dead? I don’t think the Senate is going to do it, so I guess, yes.”

Camp added that he’d keep an eye on the courts — the Affordable Care Act is still the target of multiple, ongoing federal lawsuits — and might push for a vote to repeal the individual mandate “some time in this Congress.”

Of course, congressional Republicans have been talking about repealing the health care law since before it even became law. After the midterm elections, GOP officials said eliminating the entirety of the law was their top priority — more important than jobs, energy policy, or anything else — and immediately went to work on this goal.

Republicans didn’t have an alternative policy and didn’t care that polls shows Americans opposing a full repeal, but they nevertheless invested an enormous amount of time and energy into this. The result was predictable — the House GOP passed its measure; Republicans felt good about themselves for a couple of days; and the whole effort faded away.

It’s just occurring to these guys now that a Democratic Senate and Democratic White House aren’t going to accept this, so it’s time to give up?

As for repealing the mandate, keep a few things in mind: (1) this was a Republican idea; (2) by their own admission, Republicans have no idea how to deal with the consequences of scrapping the provision; and (3) mandates couldn’t be that bad since they’re part of the Paul Ryan agenda.

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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.