Opinion: Hey GOP, got an Obamacare plan yet?

Source: "A Pledge to America," released by House GOP in September 2010

Source: “A Pledge to America,” released by House GOP in September 2010

As far back as September 2010, Republicans have been promising the American people that they had “a plan to repeal and replace the government takeover of health care.”

They repeated that promise throughout 2011 and 2012 and …

“I expect our conference in the coming weeks to have a discussion about Obamacare and how we’re going to deal with it, and what the replacement legislation would look like,” then-Speaker John Boehner said in 2013.

“This year, we will rally around an alternative to Obamacare and pass it on the floor of the House,” then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised in early 2014.

The names have changed over the years — both Boehner and Cantor have been cast aside — but the tune has not changed a whit. In a joint budget resolution passed in early 2017, the Republican House and Republican Senate ordered the four committees with jurisdiction — two in each chamber — to produce an Obamacare replacement plan no later than Jan. 27. It is now Feb. 8, almost two weeks past that deadline. The relevant committees have failed to complete their assignment, which is bad enough; the real scandal is that they failed to even begin trying. The closest they came was a House subcommittee vote to deny Medicaid to major lottery winners, which sounds fine I guess but does not exactly constitute a replacement plan.

Now we can add Trump himself to the chorus. Back on Jan. 10, the then-president-elect demanded that Congress move to repeal Obamacare immediately, within a week, with a vote on a replacement bill “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”

“Long to me would be weeks,” Trump said. “It won’t be repeal and then two years later go in with another plan.”

Except yes, it will be. In an interview broadcast Sunday on Fox, Trump reassured us that he has “a wonderful plan,” but had no details. “We’re gonna be putting it in fairly soon. I think that, yes, I would like to say, by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

Or the year after that.

In short, after all this time and all these promises, they still have no idea what to do or how to do it. They know it’s going to be a great plan, a wonderful plan, “a patient-centered plan with common-sense reforms,” whatever that might mean, but behind that facade of glittering generalities they got nothing. Their inability to even begin grappling with the problem may be the single biggest act of long-running governmental malpractice that we have witnessed in modern times, which I concede is saying an awful lot.

They can’t even agree — Republican with Republican — on what the goals of such a plan should be. Some talk now of repair and rebuild rather than repeal. Others still insist on tearing the entire thing down, including cancellation of Medicaid expansion and subsidies that would leave tens of millions uninsured. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, tabbed to be secretary of Health and Human Services, has even proposed to cut an additional $1 trillion from traditional Medicaid over the next decade, which would add millions more to the uninsured rolls.

Trump and others appear to strongly disagree.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump promised The Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

“Let me be clear,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference “No one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage. We’re providing relief. We aren’t going to pull the rug out from anyone.”

How do you bridge that chasm between the total repeal that party leaders have long promised and the political necessity to somehow keep insuring millions? You can’t. You simply can’t. Boehner understood that, Cantor understood that, and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell understand it as well, which is why they have all dodged the issue for so long.

Well, the time for dodging will soon come to an end, and I’m very much looking forward to watching.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

2052 comments
USMC2841
USMC2841

If lying about keeping one's doctor, lying about saving $2500.00/yr. and paying members (Nelson and Landrieu) of your own party to force it on their constituents is a "plan".  I pray the Republicans never have one.

gotalife
gotalife

Go buy Ivanka's crap trump says.

Just no to trump.

He can't rule you if you refuse to obey

honested
honested

@gotalife 

We all have a Constitutional Obligation to refuse illegal orders.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

I could use a stylish MAGA visor for the spring.

She offer one of those?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Mark my word. Trump is going to have to decide between his business interests and the interests of this country. I predict he will resign as president rather than give up his money when he is accused legally of conflicts of interests.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Any legal group including states . The Constitution is the overriding law of this nation.

rimsky
rimsky

@Philo_Farnsworth People  are already having buyer's remorse.  Not you but there will be enough to kick him out in 4 years.

Hopefully people wake up early enough to change the Hill in 2018.

gotalife
gotalife

We have third world leader trump saying your tax cuts are coming.


Yay tax cuts.


Total failure.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb 

Make sure everything is sucked out before you move on to the next one.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Surelyyoujest

or c)  there are too many checks and balances for that to happen

-

Another conservative poster here made that same argument here yesterday, to which I replied that: 

1) such confidence in the strength of our checks and balances is greatly exaggerated and unwarranted. Our basic social and political institutions in this country are far more fragile than is generally thought, as we're going to find out I fear very soon.

And, even if you dispute that, 

2) Having a president directly strike at the root of these institutions as Donald Trump has been doing pretty much non-stop since taking office, and before, will bring those institutions to their knees soon enough, with disastrous consequences.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Donnie_Pinko As the saying goes, you are certainly entitled to YOUR opinion.  And, when did YOU become part of the proverbial "we" of the lib or con persuasion of which you write above as "our"?

honested
honested

Has chaffettttzzz scheduled the first hearing on the Yemen Massacre yet?

Kamchak
Kamchak

Will someone please pet the jester-poo?

He seems to be extremely needy for attention today.

Even more so than usual....

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

We libs are getting distracted by Trump. Need to clean our own house now or we will have 8 years of Trump.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Finn-McCool The Trumpocalypse is happening. But yes we need to keep moving to the left. Its where the country is headed. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Surelyyoujest @Finn-McCool I know, it's startling.

I have however always thought Finn one of the more intelligent Libs here even when he strays and posts some Liberal BS.

And, Nick of course who is the most level headed of any Lib here.

honested
honested

@Finn-McCool 

We can have the house spitshined in a couple of days.

The problem of  the 'so-called president' damaging everything he touches won't change.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

@LogicalDude @Finn-McCool Shift Dem loyalty from Wall Street, corporations, and the moneyed elite back to the working people and minorities.

Since Bill Clinton we've lost track of our core beliefs in the name of cash.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Finn-McCool @LogicalDude Bernie Sanders was an attempt by some in the Democratic Party to do that. Elizabeth Warren would have been a great candidate for that too.  I'm sure there are a couple more well qualified candidates that could have ran, but didn't due to too many ingrained moneyed interests that sided with Clinton. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@JohnnyReb @Buschleaguer @Finn-McCool I would prefer a more balanced ticket, of former Senator Jim Webb and more socially progressive and younger Tulsi Gabbard. Just my fantasy Dem Ticket for 2020.never gonna happen.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

 If he was so great, why did the nation vote against his agenda

Actually, nearly 3 million more voted for his agenda.

Moving the goalpost from votes to EC in 3...2...1....

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kamchak @JohnnyReb those can be accounted in California only, and they want to secede.

Many are also likely illegals who should not have been allowed to vote.  But of course that is an assumption.

honested
honested

@Kamchak @JohnnyReb 

We just need to find more on the left who are stupid enough to live in Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, Idaho and Utah.

You know, the empty states where votes really count.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

Trump got plenty of votes from Texas, and Texas has been wanting to secede for decades.

Insert another quarter and try again.


YouLibs
YouLibs

JReb


Stop digging, boy, you've got the blueprints upside down.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

If a sitting president is moving to destroy functioning democratic institutions, or what's left of them, and thus ushering in some form of dictatorial rule, is that a fundamentally partisan question?

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

This blog appears more and more to be serving as a platform for right wing filth to come and camp to spew garbage. 

That's a problem.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Donnie_Pinko or c)  there are too many checks and balances for that to happen even if he was doing that, which, by the way, he is NOT.