When it comes to the country’s health care system, Republicans are trying to build the plane in midair. Since Trump’s inauguration, they have thrown out a new buzzword every two weeks to obscure the fact that, despite all of their bluster in the Obama years, they have no plan to replace or repair Obamacare. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported on the newest GOP plan:
Republican leaders are betting that the only way for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act is to set a bill in motion and gamble that fellow GOP lawmakers won’t dare to block it.
Party leaders are poised to act on the strategy as early as this week, after it has become obvious they can’t craft a proposal that will carry an easy majority in either chamber. Lawmakers return to Washington Monday after a week of raucous town halls in their districts that amplified pressure on Republicans to forge ahead with their health-care plans.
Republican leaders pursuing the “now or never” approach see it as their best chance to break through irreconcilable demands by Republican centrists and conservatives over issues ranging from tax credits to the future of Medicaid.
OK! The problems with this plan are pretty obvious. First, for this to work, the GOP can lose only two votes in the Senate and twenty-two in the House—not a sure bet given how jumpy Republicans are about health care. This means that Mitch McConnell (who, to be fair, is very good at this kind of thing) and Paul Ryan would have to shoot the moon, while also rushing a bill through. If you recall, this was one of the main Republican criticisms of Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010. If they go “now or never,” Republicans are going to do the same thing, but even faster.
This is made worse by the fact that the most likely Obamacare replacements will be more expensive and take away health insurance from a lot of people. Republicans will almost certainly replace Obamacare with a health care system that amplifies the things that people don’t like about it, while scrapping some of the things they do.
But they haven’t even gotten to that stage yet. The biggest problem with this plan is that it’s not a plan at all. It takes a bat to the health care system, with no strategy for picking up the pieces.