Today the Republican-controlled House of Representatives begins debate on H.R. 2 – a bill titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” The provocative title of the bill signals that this is political theater, although proponents of the bill sincerely, for dollar-and-cents reasons, want to roll back reform, specifically the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) and its companion reconciliation act.

The full, two-paragraph text of the bill is available here.

The chances repeal will happen are slim. The Democrats still control the Senate. The President has put in writing his intention to veto H.R. 2. Even the Democrats who voted against enactment of PPACA (and who remain in office) don’t intend to support repeal. For a more trenchant analysis of the repeal movement’s chances at success, read Alvin D. Lurie’s piece here.

Even without full repeal, health care reform in the U.S. will almost certainly not unfold precisely according to the PPACA. The House of Representatives can thwart appropriations measures need to fund reform implementation. The rapidly increasing national debt will continue to dominate political discussions and make costly reform look like extravagance. The debate over health care reform may continue to be divisive, but I would like to think that it will more closely resemble the compromise (however uneasy) that the two parties recently reached on extending Bush-era tax cuts. Time will tell and I will continue to keep you apprised.

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