In anticipation of the Supreme Court hearing King v. Burwell — the case that could take health insurance from millions based on a garbage legal argument that Congress wanted to deny subsidies to people in states that didn’t build their own exchanges and didn’t tell anyone because conspiracy — Republicans have been pretending that they will have a plan to fix the massive hole they hope suddenly appears in the law.
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent has been following what he calls the GOP’s “bait and switch” tactics for months.
But it goes without saying that Republicans would love to see millions of Americans robbed of health insurance.
We know this because as millions lost health insurance under George W. Bush, Republicans did nothing. We know this because they’ve denied Medicaid expansion to millions and paid no political cost. And we know this because Republicans have never taken one vote on a plan that would replace the law, despite promising they would for years.
There are three main reasons the GOP will never replace Obamacare:
- They can’t agree on anything — they can’t even agree if repeal is really necessary or if the replacement should cover more or less people than had insurance before the ACA.
- Any feasible replacement they propose will feature the exact things — tax hikes, insurance cancellations, lost doctors, premium increases — that they’ve been complaining about for half a decade.
- Obamacare is their replacement.
Still they have to pretend it’s possible that their replacement will “be flown in by a unicorn sliding down a rainbow” to give John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy the confidence they need to wreck something that is working based on nonsense – except when it’s time for an Obamacare repeal vote.
Tuesday’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House, the first full repeal vote since May of 2013, was different. For the first time Republicans were voting to take health insurance away from people who had gained it.
Sure, they’ve voted more than 50 times to repeal some or all of the law. But this housewarming gift for freshman members represents the first time to get rid of the law after it went into full effect.
Forget the hypocrisy of voting to cancel tens of millions of insurance policies after raising holy hell about cancellations that were typical of the pre-ACA insurance market. Republicans are trying to undo a law that has become so entrenched in our health care system — which has seen its costs grow at the lowest rate in 50 years — that talk of repealing it is “like talk of repealing the interstate highway system,” according to health care expert Timothy Jost.
This vote was also different because it — for the first time — would give Congress 6 months to replace the law if repeal were successful. In 2009, Democrats swept into office with all three of their major presidential candidates in agreement about the basics of health care reform. And it still took much longer than 6 months.
Republicans are hinting they’ll pass a short-term fix if the court guts the law. But getting Republicans to vote for anything that sanctifies Obamacare — even in the short term — will spark a civil war in the party in the middle of the early stages of a presidential primary. Ted Cruz is basing his entire campaign on standing up to his party on issues like this. He’d love this fight.
The Kochs have invested big in stopping Republicans from expanding Medicaid — with great success. Do you think they’re going to give a lifeline to Democrats a lifeline heading into the 2016 election?
The GOP is making promises that they can’t keep in hopes of a decision that could lead to 9,800 preventable deaths every year.
It’s a ruse designed to take health insurance away from Jennifer — a woman in Tennessee with cystic fibrosis who recently had a lung transplant. Without the ACA coverage, she likely would not be able afford the anti-rejection medications she needs to survive.
Republicans pretend they have a plan for Jennifer. And they do.
The plan is without insurance she could die, and they would blame Obama.
[Image by Tabitha Kaylee Hawk | Flickr]