The House plans to vote on a bill this week that would further extend an ObamaCare program. That’s pretty bad, but it’s worse: House Republicans are pushing for its passage.
The bill would essentially cut funding from a Obamacare program that all conservatives should oppose to pay for an Obamacare program that even the bill’s own supporters claim is “far from perfect.” Somehow, we’re told, this transfer of money is a wash, or even a net positive, that will further strengthen conservatives’ plan for full repeal of Obamacare.
All of which is too cute by half.
The Club for Growth is urging all House members to vote against this measure, and we plan on including the vote in the Club’s 2013 scorecard.
Here’s the problem. Conservatives should never support federally funded high-risk pools, which is what the extended Obamacare program does. And this particular program is so expensive and so inefficient that even President Obama couldn’t support it.
Republican supporters of the bill will argue that high-risk pools are a great idea, though they prefer them to be at the state-level. Well, maybe they are. But if Republicans prefer the pools at the state level, they should only support them at the state level. Don’t prop up an awful program run by Washington.
Procedurally, Democrats wouldn’t allow the prevention fund (the slush fund that is being used to fund this bill) to be reduced. If the bill passes the House, Harry Reid will swap out the bill’s funding mechanism for a cigarette tax and then send it back to the House. (They already have a bill authored to do just that – H.R. 1578.)
If House Republicans, or a portion of them, pass the Reid plan along with Pelosi and the Democrats, then they fail. If they oppose the Reid plan, the bill goes nowhere, and then the GOP fails again, because they’ve now supported an unconstitutional piece of Obamacare for no good reason.
This bill is a complete mess, and unfortunately, it’s distracting the GOP away from the real fight, which is full repeal of Obamacare. Fiscal conservatives should recognize this — and consider whether that misdirection was part of House leadership’s intention all along.
— Andy Roth is the vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth.