After Promising To ‘Repeal And Replace’ Obama’s Health Law, Republicans Have No Replacement

As the first major legislative act with their new majority, Republicans are planning to hold a futile vote next week to repeal President Obama’s health care law. The laughably named “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” has an equally laughable chance of becoming law, as the Democratic majority in the Senate will inevitably block it. President Obama has also confirmed that he’ll veto it.

Nonetheless, House Republicans are rushing headlong into inevitable defeat, insisting that their efforts aren’t doomed, and promising to “replace” Obama’s law with their own, better one. “Repeal and replace” has been a mantra for Republicans and their conservative allies since March of last year, though the repealers have been hazy on with what they would “replace” it with.

On Fox News Sunday today, conservative Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol could offer only the vaguest of promises about the replacement. When Fox News contributor Juan Williams challenged Kristol to explain “what are you going to replace it with?”, Kristol told Williams not to worry, because there would be hearings in a few months and Republicans would probably come up with something by then. Watch it:


It seems House Republican leaders fully understand the pointlessness of their effort. Just days away from the repeal vote, House leaders have no coherent plan to address health care if their repeal effort succeeds. The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reports that “according to GOP House leaders, senior aides and conservative health policy specialists, Republicans have not distilled their ideas into a coherent plan”:

On the cusp of undertaking this work, the GOP has a cupboard of health-care ideas, most going back a decade or more. They include tax credits to help Americans afford insurance, limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits and unfettering consumers from rules that require them to buy state-regulated insurance policies. In broad strokes, the approach favors the health-care marketplace over government programs and rules. […]

In the absence of a plan, Republican leaders nevertheless are eager to convey that they have ideas about health care — and are not merely trying to knock down those of the Democrats. As a result, they have drafted a resolution to accompany the repeal legislation. It lays out broad, long-held GOP health-care goals, but no specifics, and directs four House committees to develop proposals. […]

The range of current thinking in the House is not entirely clear, with 87 Republican freshmen and nearly half the members of the influential Ways and Means panel new this year.

The repeal ploy and the lack of real ideas suggest the new majority is uninterested in serious governing.