(Bloomberg View) — Recently, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 30, a bill that would make significant changes to the employer mandate provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), changing the definition of a “full-time employee” from one who works 30 hours a week, to one who works 40 hours. The effect of this bill is going to be negligible, because Republicans won’t have enough votes to override a presidential veto.
Even as a bit of political theater, it was puzzling.
The employer mandate is more popular than other elements, like the individual mandate, that Republicans might have attacked. So it’s not clear what Republicans gain from going on the record in favor of quasi-repealing it.
Of course, Republicans might rejoin that they had an obligation to pass a good bill, even knowing that it would be unpopular and that President Obama would never let it take effect. That brings us to the next question: Why did they think this was a good bill?