The Republican Party is historically unpopular after shutting down the government in a futile attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act. In fact, with a favorability rating of just 24 percent, Republicans are far less popular than the health care law, which a majority of Americans support or would like to make stronger. Yet the backlash against them has not convinced Republicans to give up their desperate crusade to take away people’s health care.
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on the glitches in the Affordable Care Act’s recently launched insurance marketplaces. A memo from the committee’s Republican majority contends that the rollout “has been fraught with significant problems that are leading to major delays for Americans attempting to shop for health coverage.” However, a look back at President Bush’s Medicare Part D expansion shows Republicans –including some of the very same committee members holding today’s hearing – defending the need to give new health care programs enough time to succeed. For example, as then-Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) said, “This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches.”
While the past conduct of these Republican committee members makes it abundantly clear that today’s hearing has nothing to do with improving people’s access to health care, the overall record of Republicans in Congress provides even more evidence that they are not genuinely concerned with the difficulties of obtaining health insurance. House Republicans have voted nearly 50 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act without offering any realistic replacement. Furthermore, Republicans have repeatedly approved radical budget proposals that would privatize Medicare and gut health care programs for children and the poor.
Read more after the jump.