Obamacare repeal: A divided GOP
You almost have to feel sorry for Republicans, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. After seven years of railing against the Affordable Care Act, GOP lawmakers are finally in a position to repeal the legislation—but they can’t agree on an alternative. Party leaders wanted to hold a vote repealing the law next week but delaying implementation of the repeal until they’ve worked out that alternative. But many Republicans are now getting nervous about this “repeal and delay” strategy. Three senators— who would give the 48 Democrats the vote they need to block a repeal—announced this week that they want a replacement on the table before any further action. President-elect Donald Trump urged lawmakers to repeal the law right away and unveil a full replacement “very shortly thereafter.” But unless Republicans can agree on a plan that will inevitably take health insurance away from millions of Americans, the repeal may never happen.
Dream on, said David Harsanyi in TheFederalist.com. It’s naturally going to take “more than a couple of weeks” for the GOP to coalesce around a replacement. Rather than try to replace the whole monstrous law at once, they can deconstruct it piece by piece, starting with the individual mandate, and then “sell the American people on market-based solutions.” Republicans “already agree on the general contours” of a replacement law, said Kimberley Strassel in The Wall Street Journal. It will be centered on freeing up insurance markets from regulation and tax credits that will enable people to buy their own insurance, with more consumer choice. Republicans have to avoid making the same mistakes as Obama and the Democrats, who rammed the Affordable Care Act through Congress and “never bothered to sell their plan to the public.”
The GOP will have one tough sell, said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. Republicans are saying that instead of “universal coverage,” they seek “universal access” to coverage. In other words, you’ll get health coverage if you can afford it. Their deregulated plans will have high out-ofpocket costs and limited coverage; in addition, millions of people will be kicked out of Medicaid. Republicans are afraid to state “a simple truth,” said Philip Klein in the Washington Examiner. They “don’t believe it’s the job of the federal government to guarantee that everybody has health insurance.” Until Republicans start displaying the courage of their conservative convictions, “they are doomed to fail.”
▪Just 27% of Americans see the country as more united due to Barack Obama’s presidency. 44% say the country is more divided. 90% of Democrats view Obama favorably, while 75% of Republicans view him negatively.
Associated Press/NORC poll
▪69% of Americans say Roe v. Wade should not be “completely overturned,” marking a 6-point increase in support for that Supreme Court ruling since 2013. Just 28% want Roe “completely overturned.”