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Ezra Klein Pleads with Republicans to Be Not-Insane


Ezra Klein: Presidential campaigns… usually focus on… hope and change. The candidates promise big grand new policies and how everything's going to be different and then they get elected and they go to Congress, and Congress usually just says no. This time… is different. Candidate Obama in 2008 promised universal health care. And shockingly, unlike the many, many presidents who had run for office and been elected promising that before him, President Obama was pretty much able to get it passed into law. But though the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, it wasn't scheduled to actually begin until 2014…. You might have heard the old saw that elections have consequences. This election had real, completely life changing consequences for the 30 million uninsured people and maybe millions more who will get health care coverage because President Obama [has been] re-elected and… the Affordable Care Act will take effect. That is not just change you can believe in, or change you can hope for. It is change that is actually happening. It is happening even as we speak right now. It doesn't need another vote in Congress or to clear another challenge before the Supreme Court. It is law and even John Boehner knows it.


Diane Sawyer: You had said next year that you would repeal the health care vote. That still your mission?

John Boehner: Well, I think the election changes that. It is pretty clear that the president was re-elected and Obama care is the law of the land.


Ezra Klein: That was Boehner less than two weeks ago. It was pretty clear that mission repeal Obamacare had failed…. [But] Republicans weren't super happy…. [It turns out t]hat election we just had, the one where voters re-elected the Obamacare guy, the one that had Obama right there in his name, that was but a flesh wound. Today Boehner wrote an op-ed to the Cincinnati Inquirer which begins with

President Obama has won re-election but... as was the case before the election, Obamacare has to go….

[I]f you read on… things get a little strange…. Boehner went on to share the big plan which is…

There are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president's law: the courts, the presidential election process, and the congressional oversight process…. Vigorous oversight of the health care law by the House can be expected and, in fact, is already under way.

One of these things is not like the other. The courts and the presidential election process, they can actually stop Obamacare…. Congressional oversight hearings?… [A] little pathetic. If you think John Boehner has any chance of repealing the health care law through “vigorous oversight” from the House's oversight committees, what have they been doing for the past two years? Why isn't the health care law gone now?…

The big health care players, insurers and pharmaceutical companies, are now working with liberal health care advocacy groups to make sure people know about and understand the health care law and what they can get from it. They're going to spend millions of dollars to tell people about the law. The insurers and the drug makers want to do it because more people in the system means more profit for them. The health care advocates because more people being covered means… more people with health care coverage and you don't have to go through the dangerous experience of being uninsured. And while all of this is happening… the Republicans are going to be chasing their tails in oversight hearings, pretending they can repeal the bill.

Come on, guys. The campaign is over. The election is over. It is now time to govern. Obamacare is the law of the land…. Republicans… made an all-in bet on killing the bill and then an all-in bet on repealing the bill and now both of those bets have gone bad. It is over. Health care reform is happening. The only question is whether Republicans will choose to be part of it.