My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington sends this:
”U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta will not be among the Democratic defectors today when House Republicans vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act – the 33rd vote this Congress in the repeal treadmill.
Barrow, who faces tough redistricting fight in a redrawn 12th District, voted against the original law in 2010, but has not backed repeal efforts, arguing that it is better to work to improve the law.
Republicans had predicted that after the Supreme Court upheld the health insurance mandate as a tax they might win a few new converts to the full repeal chorus, but Barrow is sticking where he is.
“The reason it’s tough is because each side up here is making it tough,” Barrow said of the vote. “That’s what’s wrong with this place. Both sides have the same attitude and both sides are equally wrong, that this has to be an all or nothing proposition.”
Barrow ticked off the appealing parts and noted even GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney says some of the popular pieces should remain. Barrow said he likes forcing insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, preventing lifetime limits on coverage and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.
But ideally Barrow would dismantle several key pieces of the law, including the individual health insurance mandate, the mandate that businesses with 50 or more employees pay for health coverage and the Independent Payment Advisory Board tasked with curtailing Medicare costs that foes fear will lead to rationing of care.
Barrow’s proposed alternative to the web of subsidies and mandates would be for the federal government to open up its employee health insurance plan to the general public, as the government’s large-scale negotiating power can help keep costs down.
Barrow said Republicans have presented a bad binary choice and that he would continue supporting any bill “that gets rid of the bad and preserves what’s good. That’s what I’m for.”
Earlier this month, Barrow had angered many Democrats by joining Republicans and voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to provide documents for a House investigation of a botched scheme to catch gun-runners.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider