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What Is Health Care Repeal Really About?

Republican economic honcho Douglass Holtz-Eakin says that voting for repeal of the Affordable Care Act is really about putting in place some different kind of health care reform:

I am one of roughly 200 economists and other experts to sign an open letter expressing concern over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and arguing that the economic and budgetary outlook would be improved by repeal. Proponents of the PPACA are stridently making the case that repeal means that children and others with preexisting conditions will never get insurance policies, that seniors will pay too much for their drugs, and that insurance companies will run roughshod over the American landscape.
Nonsense. ...
Replacing PPACA with real health-care reform that delivers quality care at lower costs. That is what the repeal vote is really about.

You can see why Holtz-Eakin would emphasize this. The push for repeal reflects a belief by the GOP base that the Affordable Care Act is a monstrosity that must be destroyed at all costs. But that is a distinctly minority opinion, as the Washington Post poll notes:

Those who do not support the law are split about evenly between advocating for its complete repeal (33 percent), a partial repeal (35 percent) and a wait-and-see approach (30 percent).

If the repeal vote was "really about" putting some different reform into place,  then it would have had some different reform in place. It doesn't. It has nothing. Why? Because agreeing on an alternate plan that can unite even just the Republicans (let alone win 60 Senate votes) and win public approval is really hard. I'm sure many Republicans truly think that they'll be able to implement some reform of their own after repealing the Affordable Care Act. But if they can't put a plan on the table now, there's no reason to think they ever will. Which is why the repeal vote is exactly what the bill says it is: a vote to restore the old status quo.