On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on the October launch of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. While the committee’s Republicans are expected to keep up their extreme, Ted Cruz-led attacks calling for the wholesale repeal of Obamacare, it’s worth remembering that a number of them sang a different tune during the problematic implementation of Medicare Part D in 2006.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), for example, now the Finance Committee’s ranking member, said of Medicare Part D in 2006 that “any program of that size and magnitude will have problems initially!” Hatch also commended a CMS administrator for doing a good job with “this very, very difficult to implement bill that we saddled you with.” And fellow Finance Committee member Mike Crapo (R-ID) argued in 2006 that glitches shouldn’t outweigh the benefits of positive public policy, saying of Medicare Part D that “we should not let these problems overshadow the fact that every day there are folks who are paying far less for their medications than they were before.”
But the similarities between the rollout problems facing the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part D are unlikely to buy Obamacare any leeway from a Republican Party that has been bent on destroying health care reform from the outset. Like their counterparts in the House, who have voted nearly 50 times to repeal or defund the health care reform law, Senate Republicans have introduced dozens of bills designed to chip away at the law and repeatedly tried to use political tactics to undermine its viability. Yet the GOP’s blind devotion to sabotaging the health care law at any opportunity ignores the millions of Americans who would suffer if the legislation were repealed, including those with pre-existing conditions and seniors who fall into the prescription drug “donut hole.”
Wednesday’s hearing follows several similarly themed events held in recent weeks by other Senate and House committees, at which Republicans berated witnesses from CMS and HHS and used the opportunity to attack Obamacare as a whole. With the Finance Committee’s Ted Cruz-led Senate Republicans likely to pile on, it’s clear that the GOP’s real interest is partisan grandstanding, not fixing the glitches in the law.
Read more after the jump.