Democrats are increasingly optimistic that they will have the votes needed to block Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This confidence is buoyed by polls showing that the ACA is now more popular than ever, and by the incredible pressure Democrats and progressive activists have exerted on Republican lawmakers at town halls and other forums. All this pressure appears to be getting to Republicans.
In a truly bizarre episode at the Capitol, Senator Rand Paul attempted to abscond with a draft of an ACA repeal bill prepared by House Republicans. As reported by Politico, Sen. Paul “tried unsuccessfully to wrest a draft of the House GOP’s Obamacare bill from a secure room in the Capitol on Thursday, an escalation of his opposition to the party’s healthcare plans.”
“The bill had apparently been moved from the room, which was guarded by Capitol Police — or was never there at all — by the time that Paul got there. But his decision to stomp over to the House side of the Capitol, with dozens of reporters in tow, highlighted conservatives’ concerns about an opaque process as the GOP races to repeal Obamacare.”
In his defense, Paul’s motives appear admirable. Stated Paul, “[The Republican effort to repeal the ACA] is being presented as if it were a national secret, as it if it were a plot to invade another country. … That’s wrong. It should be done openly in the public. And conservatives who have objections that don’t want Obamacare-lite should be able to see the bill.”