You know the old saying, right?  If you do something more than once, and you do it the exact same way every time and expect different results, that’s the definition of insanity.  There’s some real truth to that.

Healthcare USA, after Anton Bruehl
Healthcare USA, after Anton Bruehl (Photo credit: Mike Licht,

So, how does that old saying relate to what’s been going on in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives when it comes to the Affordable Care Act?  After all, the House voted last Wednesday to repeal the law that’s previously been approved at every level of government … a vote that’s had the same result 33 times now since the ACA became a law.

Like they truly believe the Democratic-controlled Senate is going to change its mind and decide to vote in favor of repeal itself?

Has anyone actually heard of any plan the Republicans are proposing that is better than what’s in the ACA (aside from just relying on tort reform, which would only help to rein in health care costs by the smallest of fractions)?  It’s like one commenter on said on this story, “Here’s a thought, why not repeal it after you’ve presented a better plan … or any plan at all for that matter.”

What a novel idea!

All the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats in the House are doing  by demanding that the ACA gets repealed completely — even the parts they say that they like — is wasting time and the money that they say they’re all for trimming out of the federal budget, but the repeal of the ACA is being played as one of those “big guns” by the GOP in this wacky presidential election year.

That point on wasting time and money was raised quite nicely in a commentary by Bob Schieffer on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” Sunday morning.

“There was once this guy who loved to talk about guns.   And when he couldn’t figure out any other way to work guns into the conversation, he would just say, ‘I think I heard a gunshot.’  Speaking of guns and off he’d go talking about his favorite subject, which brings me to Congress where House Republicans did their favorite thing last week, virtually their only thing, of late.  For the 33rd time they voted to repeal all or part of the health care law, knowing that the action was … totally meaningless because the Senate would never go along.  Now, mind you, this is no endorsement of the new health care law.  We need health care reform but I am a long way from believing the President’s plan is the best way to go about it.  My beef is that Congress cannot seem to figure out how to do anything, but vote on this one issue over and over time after time day after day.  Hey, guys, we hear you, we take your point.  But the way I heard it, government is there to improve the lives of citizens.  You seem to believe all this repetitious blather will help you raise campaign money, maybe so, but it is hard for me to see how it helps anyone else.  The best estimates are that Congress has wasted a total of two full work weeks — 80 hours — voting on this one thing.  According to the Congressional Research Service, it costs us millions of dollars a week to operate the House of Representatives, the staff salaries, the mail services, cafeterias, all of that, and we’re not even including paying the capitol cops.  So you do the numbers.  Do you think we’re getting our money’s worth when Congress spends two weeks voting on the same thing over and over again?  I think they can do better.”

The way Congress operates these days, that last sentence is optimistic thinking, bordering on being unrealistic.  They can’t do better.  They just don’t know how.


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