In response to the disastrous rollout of key parts of President Barack Obama’s federal health care law, Republican lawmakers are asking questions on a daily basis about how and when HealthCare.gov, the website where Americans can find insurance options, will function properly.
Despite their concern, it can be easy to forget that the GOP has no interest in actually fixing the problems that plague the law, and Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday offered a friendly reminder.
“There is no way to fix this monstrosity,” Boehner said after a meeting with House Republicans. “The idea that the federal government is going to supply the health insurance for every American and write all the rules defies any, any sense from my standpoint.”
Boehner's statement confirms what should be obvious. House Republicans have voted 42 times to either repeal or change parts of the law, so their intention is no secret. But since HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1, Republicans have shown an outpouring of concern about the site’s dysfunction. That concern is more about making the case to kill the law than it is about seeking solutions to fix it.
Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee conducted a hearing with the contractors who helped build HealthCare.gov, and several GOP lawmakers asked what could be done to fix the website.
“What we’re trying to figure out is how did all this taxpayer money get wasted and what is their remedy?” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the panel’s chairman, told The New York Times.
More Republican-organized hearings are planned this week: On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee is questioning Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, about the state of the law’s implementation, and on Wednesday, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, will testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Republican goal here is not necessarily to find solutions to the problems, but to expose them as part of an effort to stall the law’s complete implementation and, ultimately, to repeal it.
Republicans know that they can’t eliminate the law as long as they control only the House. (The failed effort to defund the law while threatening to shut down the government proved it.) For now, stalling is their best defense.