What I've been saying the last three years about the Republicans failed plans for replacing ObamaCare have been summed up in one day by the Republicans themselves.
The Post’s Mike DeBonis has obtained leaked audio of Republicans at a closed-door session airing serious anxieties about the GOP’s strategy to repeal and replace Obamacare. What’s remarkable is how decisively their specific comments in private undercut the party’s public, carefully-crafted talking points about the battle to come ... they basically admit in various ways that Republicans will be responsible for the mess that repealing the law — which would probably be done on a delay while Republicans come up with a replacement — is expected to make ...
Senators and House members expressed a range of concerns about the task ahead: how to prepare a replacement plan that can be ready to launch at the time of repeal; how to avoid deep damage to the health insurance market; how to keep premiums affordable for middle-class families; even how to avoid the political consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood ...
“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
The notion that Republicans will have “created” the state of the market that results after repeal, and that they will “own” that outcome, is refreshing ... Republicans have employed a series of overwrought formulations to suggest that, because Obamacare is already allegedly collapsing, Republicans are merely stepping in with a “rescue mission.”
The Republican rhetoric about its supposed collapse and implosion is just nonsense ... see this piece by Jonathan Cohn ... the ACA marketplaces are generally stable ... or absurd (the notion of a death spiral is belied by robust enrollment) ... the most immediate threat to the law is Republican efforts to gum up the works ... that leads insurers to exit the marketplaces because of uncertainty that any GOP replacement will ever materialize.
Also note this from the leaked audio: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) warned his colleagues that the estimated budget savings from passing the Obamacare repeal bill — which could approach a half-trillion dollars — are needed to fund the costs of setting up a replacement. “This is going to be what we’ll need to be able to move to that transition,” he said.
And this: Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) also worried that the plans under GOP consideration could eviscerate coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans now covered through state and federal marketplaces, as well as those covered under Medicaid expansion: “We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”
To reiterate, it is useful to see Republicans wrestling with the fact that repeal (and replace) will bring major challenges and could produce a terrible outcome in humanitarian terms. But we have to ask: Given that Republicans have supposedly been preparing for the chance to repeal (and replace) the ACA for years, why do they seem so surprised by this?