Let me finish tonight with what the Republicans promised to do with health care this year.
Their campaign promise was to repeal and replace. They were quite specific in this regard, promising to protect people who want to buy health insurance and have pre-existing medical conditions. They promised to make sure that insurance companies don’t deny them policies.
They were quite specific, the Republicans, in promising that they would end the practice of insurance companies hitting people with life time spending caps, in other words, limits on how much health needs you have, as if a person can limit how much health need they are going to face in their lifetime.
Boehner today promised to let the Democrats offer amendments to Republican bills. “There were no open rules in the House in the last Congress. In this one, there will be many.”
But what about next Wednesday when the House votes on repeal of the Obama health care program? Will the Speaker meet his commitment made just today to allow Democratic amendments?
Will he allow, specifically, the right of Democratic members of Congress to offer amendments that do what the Republicans promised to do in the election - protect the ability of people who have pre-existing medical needs to buy health insurance? They promised this in the campaign. Will they let the House vote on such a measure? Will the Speaker do the same with regard to lifetime limits on medical payments? Will he let a Democratic member offer such an amendment, one that prevents insurance companies from establishing such a limit?
Today, Speaker Boehner promised members of Congress “a robust debate in open process that allows you to represent your constituents, to make your case, offer alternatives, and be heard.”
The weighty question, just hours after he made that commitment, is whether he will keep it next Wednesday when the House brings up the Republican bill to repeal the Obama health program.
Again, that’s the first question of this speakership. Will Speaker Boehner meets his first commitment his first week in the chair? Will he allow amendments to this repeal bill?