Obamacare Repeal: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting For A Republican Health Care Plan

Republicans feel the wind at their backs in their opposition to Obamacare, and it seems polls support this belief. But even if a plurality of Americans do not like the Affordable Care Act, Republicans should not mistake this for informed public opinion. Because if Republicans were successful in repealing Obamacare, they would soon face a backlash from people losing benefits and health care “rights” they now have under the law.

Remember the “replace” in “repeal and replace”? Yeah, you haven’t heard much about that lately. But Republicans have a problem. They aren’t just against Obamacare in name, they are against many of the great health care protections for citizens.

Jonathan Bernstein (The Plum Line, The Washington Post) — The first problem with developing an alternative to the Affordable Care Act is that there just may not be any policy alternative that comes close to accomplishing what the law accomplishes. At first, it looked like conservatives would leave themselves a way to propose their own version of the same reforms in Obamacare, and rename it on their own terms. As such, there seemed to be a method to it when, at the outset, conservatives worked hard to prevent an actual discussion of the substance of the law itself. Much of the initial hatred of the ACA was focused on a series of phony talking points and outright lies (“government takeover” of health care; “death panels”; the law was “rammed through” using corrupt procedural tricks; etc.).

Since none of that was true, it gave Republicans an opening: they may have stigmatized “Obamacare,” but they hadn’t stigmatized the policy ideas at the core of the law — the combination of exchanges and subsidies that actually started out as a Republican plan, as Ezra Klein explains in detail today. In other words, as late as 2012 it seemed plausible Republicans could choose to invent a ConservaCare proposal based on Ronald Reagan Marketplaces that would basically offer a slightly different spin on the same underlying idea.

But conservatives have decided that no policy overlap with Obamacare is acceptable. Tea Partiers have chosen to oppose not only Obamacare but any policy which even faintly resembles any piece of that omnibus legislation. We saw this in the House defeat of Eric Cantor’s high-risk poll bill this spring, when conservatives revolted against his effort to propose a GOP plan protecting those with preexisting conditions.

Republicans have so demonized Obama’s signature legislative achievement, they cannot offer an alternative that looks anything like it. And that means a lot of unhappy Americans if Republicans found a way to repeal the law (which they won’t).

But I posit the biggest reason you will not see a Republican alternative to Obamacare, at least not a serious effort to reform health care and offer true universal access, is that Republicans just don’t care. They don’t care about fellow Americans. They don’t care that people don’t have health care insurance. They don’t care that people are going bankrupt due to medical bills. They don’t care about your problems. You are on your own. Republicans believe in rugged individualism, and that cannot and will not include universal access to health care in America. You need to pay your way, and if you can’t, you need to die.

You thought Alan Grayson used over-the-top hyperbole to describe the Republican health care plan as “Die Quickly”?

Well, we found out during a 2011 Republican primary debate that this is indeed the Republican plan.

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