THE BLOG

Taking Aim at Moms and Obamacare -- Are Republicans Insane?

08/09/2013 08:25 am ET | Updated Oct 09, 2013
  • Martha Burk Money Editor, Ms. magazine; national gender pay equity consultant, Director, Corporate Accountability Project, National Council of Women's Organizations

There's an old maxim that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again -- and expecting different results. Nobody seems to know where it really came from, but it's been attributed to Alcoholics Anonymous and drug addiction programs.

Whatever its origin, the expression seems to fit the House Republicans perfectly these days. Before they slunk out of town for their 5-week recess, they took their 40th vote to overturn Obamacare. They haven't noticed that Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, so like their 39 previous attempts, the vote's going nowhere. Fits the definition of insanity.

There is, however, a method to the latest madness. Republicans wanted vote one more time to show they're on the anti-Obama bus, because while they're home fending off constituents who might actually want some meaningful action, many of their districts will be bombarded with TV ads against Obamacare.

The ads are mostly aimed at women -- specifically moms. Pollsters say women make 80 percent of a family's health care spending decisions, and will likely be the Deciders about whether or not to sign up for the new exchanges beginning in October.

Seems to me targeting moms with anti-Obamacare messages might just backfire on Republicans. While telling female voters they want Obamacare to go away, the ads will also be a reminder that the Grand Ol' Party believes in legitimate rape, and has also voted defund family planning programs and birth control clinics.

Women, particularly those who already have kids, are firmly in favor of birth co2012-06-12-yourvoicesmallest2.JPGntrol. Under Obamacare, contraception is covered with no co-pays. Since that's one of the largest out of pocket medical expenses for moms, taking it away could make a lot of them madder than ever.

And for those moms who want more kids, Obamacare will provide well- baby and well-child care with no co-pays or deductibles. Then there's cervical cancer screening, mammograms, and lactation support -- also covered at no cost.

Obama's side is countering the negative ads of course. They're targeting moms too, reminding them that the Affordable Care Act will mean insurance companies can't put caps on coverage for their kids who might get seriously ill.

So when Congress comes back in session in September, what difference will the millions of dollars spent on dueling ads aimed at moms make? It could move millions of moms more firmly into the pro-Obamacare camp.

But never mind. The House Republicans will most likely vote overturn the program again, maybe as often as once a month, without a clue as to how they would replace it. And each vote will be just as meaningless as the last one. In what's left of their minds it's far more important than fixing the sequester, immigration reform, or programs to create more jobs.

Talk about insanity.

Listen to the audio blog here:

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