Republicans have campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare since it was enacted in 2010. Yet now that they hold both the White House and the Congress, there has been little progress on getting rid of the law.
In fact, according to a leading Republican senator, there hasn’t even been much discussion about a plan to repeal it. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) told the Huffington Post that Republicans have tabled the issue, at least for now.
From the Huffington Post:
Senate Republicans have not yet begun to work in earnest on a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Tuesday.
It was a rare public admission of what has become obvious from the outside, as Republicans find both the politics and the substance of Obamacare repeal more difficult in practice than in rhetoric. …
“To be honest, there’s not any real discussion taking place right now,” Corker told reporters in the Capitol.
One of the reasons that Donald Trump is president is that Obamacare has failed. The health law’s premium increases and Republican promises to repeal it are what brought reluctant GOP voters home to Trump in November. In addition, Trump was able to use Obamacare as a wedge issue against Hillary Clinton, who supported improving but nonetheless keeping the law.
Republicans right now have two plans laid out in the U.S. Senate, one by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and one by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). At this point, they need to pick one of those and run with it. Republicans were elected to the federal government in part to end Obamacare and they need to keep that promise.
The American people need relief from the high cost of health insurance. Small businesses need some certainty so they can plan for the future and expand and hire as they did before the Great Recession. The health care industry also needs some certainty so it can adjust and continue to provide the medical care people need. Donald Trump has promised an economic boom during his presidency; he won’t get one until Obamacare is repealed and an alternative plan is put in place.
The Democrats in 2010 were willing to sacrifice their congressional majorities for an attempt to transform American health care and redefine the relationship between the American citizen and his government. If the Republicans do not keep their promises to repeal or even fix Obamacare, they will own the bleeding health care market, which will likely cost them their congressional majorities.
The failure to implement a Republican health plan will also open the door for Democrats to substitute a single-payer system along the lines of what Bernie Sanders campaigned on when he ran for president. Surely Republicans do not want that. They need to own the issue and follow through on their promise.