Thanks to a coordinated propaganda campaign to smear President Obama’s health care law with misinformation, Republicans have found support on the right for their effort to repeal the law. But while Americans are divided on the law as a whole, “most parts of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, are actually quite popular and any attempt to repeal them could very well turn public sentiment against the repeal advocates.” These include items like tax credits for small business to offer health care coverage (supported by 78 percent of Americans) and a provision stopping insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (supported by 71 percent).
Asked about these popular provisions yesterday on NPR, Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) — who will play a key role in the new GOP-controlled Congress next year as the likely chairman of the Rules Committee — said that the Republicans have “said all along” that they want to keep those parts:
INSKEEP: So given that the law is there, I mean, what do you do with it? What do you do with portions of the law that may seem beneficial to people that are probably Republicans.
DREIER: We have said all along that we want to make sure that provisions there that are in fact beneficial in ensuring that people have access, without a huge expansion of government, we don’t want to repeal. We want to make sure that we have these very very market driven provisions that I just went through and have those put in place.
This is, of course, flat out untrue. In fact, Republicans have been saying “all along” that they want to repeal the entirety of the law. This was one of the key drivers behind the tea party movement and the Republican campaigns they supported this fall. Congressional Republican leaders like future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have vowed to “repeal and replace” the law with more right-wing reforms. Meanwhile, more extreme lawmakers led by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have called for repealing the law “lock, stock, and barrel,” irrespective of replacement.
And Dreier should know about this, as he signed a petition circulated by King to repeal the entire bill. The text of the bill Dreier vowed to support — all one sentence of it — is unequivocal: the “Act is repealed…as if such Act had not been enacted.”
And King has been explicitly clear about his intentions. “Obamacare must be ripped out completely, lock, stock and barrel — root and branch — no vestige left behind, not a DNA particle of Obamacare retained,” he wrote in an op-ed. King even went so far as to demand a “blood oath” from Boehner to include a full repeal of health care reform in every appropriations bill next year, even if it results in a government shutdown. There is zero room in King’s pledge, which Dreier signed, to keep popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
ThinkProgress contacted King’s office for comment on Dreier’s apparent flip-flop, but an interview with the congressman was canceled without explanation hours after they agreed to it.