After two months — or, depending on how you score it, seven years — House Republicans on Monday unveiled their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. The GOP is resigned to pushing through most of the plan with just Republican votes, and the plan as presented hasn't exactly been embraced by either Freedom Caucus conservatives or more moderate swing-state senators. Bret Baier tackled the politics of House Speaker Paul Ryan's American Health Care Act on Monday, with a panel including Julie Pace of The Associated Press, The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway, and syndicated columnist and Fox News stalwart Charles Krauthammer.
Pace went first, explaining the pressure that Republicans will be under to vote for the bill, and President Trump's likely need to apply some pressure on his party to get "his first major legislative priority as president." Hemingway was sympathetic to the objections of the House conservatives, calling the plan "partially repeal and replace with a repackaged ObamaCare." House GOP leaders have rushed this through, in a less-than-transparent manner, and are pushing a quick vote on the bill with no CBO score, cost estimates, or guesses as to how many people the plan will cover, she said. "You cannot blame these conservative members of Congress for having problems not just with the process but with the content."
Krauthammer said that, despite their doubts, "in the end... the conservatives, the ones who are more radical, are going to have to fall on their swords." If they managed to strip out the entitlement parts, "I think it would destroy the presidency," he said. Hemingway jumped in to note that "rewriting one-fifth of the economy and doing it in under two months' time is completely ridiculous," arguing that the same problems ObamaCare faces "regarding pre-existing conditions, or this slacker mandate — where you have, you know, 26-year-olds getting this insurance — they're still there, so it's still going to cause the same problems in funding."
Krauthammer had the last word. "In the end, I think they're going to have to have the votes," he said. "And also they're going to have to concede the fact that Obama created an entitlement, and they're now going to transmute it into something different, but the entitlement will stay, there's no way to ratchet it back, and the conservatives are going to have to swallow that in the end, because otherwise it collapses." Watch below. Peter Weber