WASHINGTON -- Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the incoming chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, whetted conservative appetites early in the year when he pledged not only to push for repeal of the president's health care reform law, but also suggested that the votes would be there to override a veto in the House.
That legislative math seemed a bit far-fetched. And even if House Republicans could corral two thirds of the chamber's votes there are small matters such as the Senate that Upton was ignoring.
On Tuesday, in a sit down interview with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Michigan Republican didn't tone down his forecast. But he made a slight alteration, pledging to hold repeal votes on specific provisions of the health care law, should the major repeal effort fail.
"I spoke with Senator Leader [Mitch] McConnell last week," said Upton. "He's excited about our efforts because ultimately, I think they will have a vote, and who knows they may have a majority in the Senate to also repeal it as we will have a majority, certainly, in the House. But the issue is not going away. We are going to come back and through hearings and through legislative initiatives we will look at things like the individual mandate. I'd bet that there will be a number of Democrats who vote against the Republicans on repealing it but in fact will say you know what that plank on insisting upon the individual mandate to purchase insurance, we will vote to take that out too."
An effort to remove the individual mandate would have, as Upton suggests, a more favorable audience than an attempt to real health care reform. Both centrist and liberal Democrats have deemed the provision either unconstitutional or superfluous. But that's hardly a guarantee of success. The private insurance industry, for one, would launch a full-bore lobbying effort to curb the effort, cognizant that they'd be saddled (legally) with covering millions of costly customers without the guarantee that the cheap, less sickly ones, would be required to buy their product.
Watch The Full Upton Video Below:
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