Congressional Republicans have promised to “repeal and replace” President Obama’s health care reform law, but they still have not agreed on what that should look like. Today, Speaker John Boehner said every part of Obamacare needs to be removed:
“We voted to fully repeal the president’s healthcare law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety,” Boehner said to reporters. “Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
But Republicans have yet to offer a viable alternative that would that would fill the void left by the law and provide coverage to the 30 million Americans who would lose insurance without Obamacare. Politico reported this morning that GOP leaders have quietly begun to float a piecemeal plan that may provide limited insurance coverage to a small portion of the uninsured. Republicans have said they would preserve the most popular provisions, like allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, without the individual mandate that helps pay for the regulations.
But the GOP’s internal disagreement and unwillingness to offer a unified comprehensive plan suggests that they consider health care a low legislative priority. For instance, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — the GOP’s spokesman on economic issues — told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that the party will “articulate our vision” to replace the law, but wouldn’t necessarily offer a legislative solution.
This approach contrasts sharply from Republican’s pledge to “replace” reform as soon as it became law in 2010. Boehner promised in 2010 to “replace it with common-sense reforms,” and Ryan said in a 2011 speech that Republicans can’t stop at simply repealing the law and “have a responsibility to fix the broken network of government policies that have made such a mess of health care.”
But now that their strategy looks like nothing more than tossing out a law that helps expand access to health insurance while controlling costs, Republicans are telling the uninsured and those worried about rising health care costs that they are not concerned about fixing their problems.