This afternoon, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell asked Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) if the GOP’s ‘Pledge‘ to “repeal and replace” the health care law would eliminate all of the new health provisions that go into effect today and if he approved of the new benefits. Thornberry initially refused to say if he supported prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions and charging co-pays for certain preventive services, but awkwardly explained that Republicans would repeal all of them and then restore some of them:
O’DONNELL: I want specific answers from you on this — one of the things that went in place today, coverage for kids with pre-existing conditions. You want to repeal that? Yes or no?
THORNBERRY: Look at the document itself. It says when we repeal Obamacare, part of the replacement is protection for people with pre-existing conditions. It’s in the document itself.
O’DONNELL: So that’s a yes?
THORNBERRY: Read it.
O’DONNELL: What about a ban on lifetime benefit limits? Yes or no, Do you want to repeal that?
THORNBERRY: We want to repeal all of the Obama health care proposal and begin to replace it. We laid out four or five specific things to replace it with immediately.
O’DONNELL: This is a simple question. It’s a yes or no. I asked you about expanded coverage for young adults. Everybody up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ health care insurance. Do you want to repeal that? Yes or no?
THORNBERRY: If you would let me answer the question. What I was about to say was this is a first step. This is not the whole answer to health care. It does not try to solve all of the problems about young adults who don’t have coverage personally. I support that. I have two kids about that age. But what’s in this plan is what people are talking about now. And it’s a first step towards greater — towards further steps on health care, budget reduction, and all the other issues.
Thornberry told O’Donnell that she misunderstood the document as a comprehensive health care proposal. It’s not. “It is not a party blueprint for everything we would do if given the opportunity in another Congress,” he said. “It is, again, a first step that we want to do now and now we would start with repealing the whole health care bill.”
Taken at face value, the GOP’s ‘replace’ proposal is full of regulatory loopholes, much like the the health plan Republicans offered last year. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that proposal would increase the number of uninsured to 52 million in 2019.