Happening as the result of a voice vote without debate, Republicans have done something shocking: making a subtle yet significant change to Obamacare to expand coverage choices, at the pleading of many business organizations and leaders.
The change was tucked, at the Republicans’ request, into a piece of legislation which prevented cuts in the payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients. It seems odd, but the Republican party actually sought to help the American people. The change eliminated a cap on the deductibles for small group policies which are offered inside the law’s health care exchanges as well as in state’s own healthcare exchanges; the cap was originally set at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. Republicans claimed that they sought the change because they wanted small businesses to offer high-deductible plans that could be purchased by individuals who also have different health savings accounts.
Harry Reid was optimistic, saying that “[He] believe that it does” when asked whether he thinks this change will be a positive benefit of the healthcare law. He added that “there are changes being made,” something that many Democrats have come out and supported as opposed to a complete repeal of the law, which Republicans took part in their 52nd vote last week to repeal the ACA.
Democrats were ecstatic with the important improvement, claiming that it was just the type of change and improvement they have eager to make for years, and Obama promptly signed it into law. The legislation was compiled and overseen by Speaker John Boehner,, and Reid himself.
Given the secrecy of the vote with little publicity, it seems that the Republican leadership does not want their base to know the fact that they compromised and made common sense, small improvements. This is an example of actual House legislation and compromising, instead of blind NO-Repeal vote the Congress is used to.
Tennessee Republican, and a physician-by-profession Phil Roe Maybe was quoted saying “It helps [Obamacare], but it really helps the small businessman.” Roe is one of the leading advocates of the law’s repeal, voting YEA every time a repeal comes up for a vote on the House Floor.
Harry Reid says it will be a benefit, and Phil Roe says it will be a benefit. Hell seems to have frozen over!
Given the very sensitive political atmosphere surrounding the law, there is no question that Republicans are feeling antsy about their involvement in helping the law be more successful (for the time being). Republicans will probably hail this as one of the great accomplishments for the GOP in four years regarding the law. Each party in Congress will be describing it as a victory for their side during the hotly contested election this coming November.
Eric Cantor’s personal spokesman says “we’re glad to see the President signed it into law,” and that this is a “series of changes to Obamacare that the House has supported to help save Americans.”
This is a small example of the very rare bipartisan attitude that Congress seldom sees.