The LA Times’ Noam Levey reminds us that the policies Republicans would replace the Affordable Care Act with are the same old tired proposals that have been offered (and rejected) in the past:
But some conservatives acknowledge that the healthcare program offered by party leaders is largely unchanged from the proposals the GOP pushed when it held majorities from 2000 to 2006. During that period, insurance premiums skyrocketed, businesses reduced benefits and the number of Americans without health insurance rose. [...]
While there is some disagreement, Republicans have largely coalesced around an approach that builds on basic pillars of GOP healthcare policy: loosen state regulation of insurance markets to allow insurers to sell policies across state lines; put new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits; and expand so-called high-risk pools to provide insurance to sick Americans who are denied coverage.
“We will approach it in smaller bites. That is the wiser course,” said Minnesota Rep. John Kline, who is in line to chair the Education and Labor Committee in a Republican-controlled House.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — who has offered several proposals to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act — predicts some kind of conservative health renaissance, telling Levey, “We could come up with a healthcare system that the American people would not only be proud of, but would actually love,” he said. “We’ve never had a real conservative majority.” But this seems unlikely, particularly if Republicans continue to recycle the health care policies of President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). In fact, most existing GOP proposals are almost identical to what McCain offered during the 2008 campaign and are filled with the same kinds of consequences that arise from deregulating the insurance industry and unraveling the employer-based system without simultaneously adding consumer protections to the individual market.
Interestingly, if Republicans were really looking for the kind of reforms that the “American people would not only be proud of, but would actually love,” they would have to reclaim their old support for the exchanges, consumer reforms in the individual health market and subsidies to help lower income Americans afford coverage. But that would require preserving the existing health law.