Before the Supreme Court ruling was released yesterday, ThinkProgress spoke with Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) about what Republicans would do to protect the 57 million Americans who have pre-existing conditions. “We’re going to work on that,” Terry promised, offering no specifics beyond “there’s going to be lots of ideas. We just have to accept all of them.”
When we pressed him on whether, two years later, Republicans had come up with the “replace” part of “repeal and replace,” Terry was frank: “no.”
KEYES: If it does ultimately all get struck down, what do we do for 57 million people who have pre-existing conditions?
TERRY: We’re going to work on that. We’re going to do it by looking at first, how do we lower health care costs, how do we make the system more efficient and less costly.
KEYES: Are there any ideas on how to do that?
TERRY: There’s going to be lots of ideas. We just have to accept all of them.
KEYES: Do we have any yet?
TERRY: We’re going to hold hearings, we’re going to invite experts. This is not going to be a closed process at all. It’s going to be completely open where we take as many ideas for reform as we can get and then we’ll see what it takes to deal with those that need more attention if they have significant pre-existing. So we’re going to deal with all of those issues.
KEYES: The mantra for a while has been “repeal and replace.” Is there an idea of what the replace would be yet?
TERRY: No. We want to take it in a very deliberate, open approach and take everybody’s ideas.
Republicans controlled Congress for most of the past two decades, yet did nothing to protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurers who wanted to deny them coverage. Nor did they have any plan to help the tens of millions of Americans who lacked health insurance.
Though the GOP is again harping the “repeal and replace” mantra, it’s clear their plan begins and ends at step one.
Steven Perlberg contributed to this report.