Editorial

GOP now has the hot potato

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was passed during the two-year period when Democrats controlled the presidency and both chambers of the U.S. Congress. Since then, the complex plan has come under attack by Republicans who reached a consensus that Obamacare should be repealed.

However, the Republicans have not reached a consensus on what happens next.

We suspect that a majority of establishment Republicans had, at first, regarded repeal as an end in itself. The country would just revert back to a system where those who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid were on their own regarding obtaining medical care. Republican legislators never had the courage to publicly support that position.

The successful Republican presidential candidate ran on a promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better and cheaper. Public officials need to be clear with the public that it is delusional to believe in retaining a role for private insurance, expanding coverage to those with preexisting conditions, eliminating maximum payments and having this all funded with only a limited and temporary infusion of federal funds.

Obamacare is already unravelling, with high rates and high deductibles that are headed higher and the number of insurance companies willing to participate declining.

This month, the presidency and both chambers of Congress will again be controlled by one party, this time the Republicans.

Some Republicans have called for repeal of the ACA to be effective only after the mid-term elections in 2018, with a non-specific (and apparently insincere) promise to create a replacement health care plan that will go into effect after ACA expires.

In the meantime, according to the cynical strategy, the ACA falls apart and the Republicans blame the Democrats for the faulty legislation passed eight years earlier.

As a political strategy, this won't work. The public is now waiting for the Republicans to make good on the delusional promise made by the leader of their party, who is also the leader of our country.