Affordable Care Act — January 20, 2017 at 10:23 am

REMINDER: The GOP wants to replace health insurance for 32 million Americans with a sad slogan


Why would the GOP blindly take on the political risk of uninsuring tens of millions? Tax breaks, of course.

It’s obvious why some Republican donors are beyond eager to get the Repeal part of the “Repeal and Replace” of Obamacare out of the way as soon as humanly – or inhumanly – possible.

They have no “Replace.” Never did.

The phrase was marketing gibberish invented to cloak the GOP’s inability to coming up with an alternative plan after more than half of decade, despite voting to gut the law so often it became part of Paul Ryan’s workout routine.

“The goal was to come up with something that had durability and could be a rallying cry for Republicans basically to campaign against Obamacare,” Josh Holmes, a former communications aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, told the New York Times.

It was alliterative, catchy and apparently good enough for the estimated 52 million Americans who have a pre-existing condition: TBD!

It was such a successful slogan that people actually bought it and now expect a real replacement.

A new Fox Poll asked, “If Obamacare is repealed, should it be immediately or only after replacement is in place?”

Immediately said 17 percent.

After replacement: 82 percent.

Republicans will scream that you can trust poll questions like this (or the one that shows Obamacare as more popular than Trump himself) after November 8 because national polls were off by a few percent and Wisconsin, the state polls missed by the widest margin, was off by about 7 percent.

We’re talking about a 61 percent margin.

And all the GOP has is… a slogan. Well, that and an amazing lack of consensus about what a replacement would look like.

Democrats, as Jonathan Cohn point out, spent an extended primary sussing out the details of reform, which had been debated internally by the party for decades. Republicans have proposed several alternatives to the ACA. All suffer from the high deductible, high out-of-pocket costs that they reemed Obamacare. All would make at least some, if not all, sick Americans uninsurable. And all would cause millions to lose coverage.

And here’s the GOP’s problem — and also Obama’s legacy — they now have accepted that uninsuring Americans is bad thing, which is a problem for them because Obama insured LOTS of Americans. They can’t even tell Bernie Sanders that they don’t think health care is a right.

Republicans are on the ropes but we should never underestimate the tremendous pressure and desire to repeal this law from the GOP base and, especially, the donor class.

Donors want the “Repeal” part and the huge cuts it would offer the super rich. They knew they needed something to sell the 32 million who’d be uninsured after a decade and the tens of millions more who will see their insurance weakened with caps on coverage and the loss of free preventative care along with a kick to the stomach of Medicare.

After spending more than half a billion dollars bashing President Obama’s signature health care reforms, they’d like to cash out their giant tax breaks, please – about $7 million each to the nation’s richest 400 Americans, as 20 million of their fellow lose their health insurance.

All that’s getting in their way is the “Replace” part, which now needs to be replaced with an actual replacement that will either have to look a lot like Obamacare or will set forth a chain of events that will force Democrats to campaign on reform that’s even more comprehensive, and thus more enduring, than Obamacare.

[Image by Fibonacci Blue | Flickr]