OK, class, lets talk about repealing Obamacare. Some of us are having a little trouble envisioning what that would look like, but I know all you smart Republicans have some great ideas. So, lets get started.
By BARBARA SHELLY
The Kansas City Star
Kevin Yoder, from Overland Park, youve voted, like, 39 times to repeal Obamacare. Tell us what youll say to those senior citizens who will have to start paying more for prescription drugs if you succeed. The Affordable Care Act, as you know, is closing the doughnut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage and 6 million seniors are already benefiting.
Congressman Yoder? Whats that, hes left the room? Something about phoning his grandma, you say.
Well, all right then, lets move on.
Vicky Hartzler, from Harrisonville, Mo., youre a big Obamacare critic. What will you say to the millions of people with pre-existing conditions who will lose their chance at affordable health insurance once the repeal happens? And how about the families of those 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions already benefiting because of the law? Surely youre not going to cast them into the cold, but insurers wont handle high-risk patients unless theyre assured of a broad base of healthy people to help absorb the losses.
Say what? Congresswoman Hartzler has stepped out also? I see.
Perhaps were being too specific. How about some of you Republicans just generally tell us your ideas for making health care affordable and accessible to all Americans, not just the ones who are healthy and have jobs with benefits. Wed also welcome your ideas for slowing the escalation of medical costs.
I see a hand up. Sen. Roy Blunt from Missouri. Very good.
Blunt: As you know, Ive been talking for years about common-sense solutions like medical liability reform and selling insurance across state lines.
OK, reducing liability for doctors while decreasing the risk of medical errors is a good idea, and the Affordable Care Act has provisions for doing those things. Selling insurance across state lines might lower premiums for healthy people, but it would make policies for sick people very expensive. Thats why they call it a race to the bottom. Any other ideas?
Blunt: Nope. Thats about it. No 906-page bill for me. My health care plan fits on the back of my hand.
Really? But surely some of you Republicans have more of a health care plan than just tort reform and selling insurance across state lines.
Voice from back of room: Of course we have a plan! What do we look like, obstructionists?
OK, great. Whats the plan?
Everyone chimes in at once. Repeal Obamacare! Thats the plan. Defund it in the budget. Refuse to help constituents figure out the insurance exchanges. Run a campaign telling young adults not to buy insurance. Make up scary stories about price hikes. Urge states not to expand Medicaid eligibility. Shut down the government if we have to. Whatever it takes.
Well, now were getting somewhere. Repealing Obamacare is the plan. The only plan. But then what will you do when families lose everything when somebody gets sick and cant hold down a job? What do you say to people who have been canceled by their insurers because theyve reached lifetime limits? How do you rationalize having the most expensive health care system in the developed world and some of the poorest results?
A suntanned guy in the front row stands up. House Speaker John Boehner here. When the bad stuff happens, we blame Obama. Thats been the plan all along.
With that, the class rises for a round of high-fives and heads for the exits.