The US Chamber of Commerce has decided to come out in public support of repealing the recently passed health care law. From Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue’s State of American Business address:
By mid-December, HHS had already granted 222 waivers to the law—a revealing acknowledgement that the law is unworkable. And, with key provisions under challenge in the courts by states and others, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Last year, while strongly advocating health care reform, the Chamber was a leader in the fight against this particular bill—and thus we support legislation in the House to repeal it. We see the upcoming House vote as an opportunity for everyone to take a fresh look at health care reform—and to replace unworkable approaches with more effective measures that will lower costs, expand access, and improve quality.
This is a more forceful position from the Chamber than we saw after the bill passed. At the time, although Donohue supported the idea of repeal in spirit, he made it clear the Chamber was going to do nothing to advance the cause.
I highly doubt the Chamber thinks it can actually force repeal of health care reform, but it seems to have made the decision that supporting repeal is a good political move.
Keeping the flame of repeal burning probably helps the Chamber in two ways. One, by firmly positioning that as the right edge of the Overton window, it makes merely agreeing to a rolling back of some of the consumer protection regulations in the bill the “compromise” position.
Additionally, the health care bill remains unpopular and highly associated with President Obama. Helping the health overhaul stay a political issue probably weakens Obama’s re-election chances, and therefore strengthens the hand of the Republican-leaning Chamber.