The Republicans in the House did something very important yesterday: they began to chip away at Obamacare.
But it wasn't just Republicans. More than two dozen Democrats broke ranks and voted to repeal the CLASS Act, a portion of Obamacare that even HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has deemed unsustainable. The CLASS Act is a provision for long-term care of the elderly.
Yesterday's vote was 267-159 in favor of repeal.
Although the administration has pretty much abandoned the CLASS Act as unsustainable, yesterday’s vote was not merely symbolic (though it is a potent symbolic of how unworkable Obamacare is). An item on the Forbes blog explains why the vote mattered:
The CLASS Act remains on the books. As long as it does so, there is the risk that this administration, or some future administration, could do a pretend actuarial analysis that produces the answer they want, and saddle future generations with yet another unsustainable government program.
This reality of this risk is underscored by the fact that the administration has opposed repeal, even though they say it they will not implement the law. My co-blogger Avik Roy has pointed out that according to the Congressional Research Service, the courts might be able to order the implementation of CLASS even if it is financially unsustainable.
Fearing an election year embarrassment, the White House is quietly lobbying Senate Democrats to oppose repeal. It is unlikely that the Senate Republicans can muster the 60 votes needed to make repeal filibuster-proof. But they should try. At the very least, they should force Democrats to explain why they want to keep something on the books that they know won’t work.