That’s for good reason. It’s a deceptively named tax cut that would solve exactly none of the current system’s problems, but would be quite effective if the goal were to make a flawed health care system far worse. So by all means, vote that hodge-podge of bad ideas down, and never look back.
And then, do you think you could get to work at long last on a bill that addresses high costs while still covering pre-existing conditions? Without, that is, allowing companies to sell junk insurance under the guise of freedom? And without devastating rural America in particular by gutting Medicaid? That won’t be easy, particularly given the addiction of lawmakers in both parties to campaign cash from the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies. But the fact is, fixing Obamacare hasn’t even been tried.
The GOP has spent the last seven years undermining and running against the Affordable Care Act, regularly repealing it in meaningless votes. As the minority party in Congress since 2010, Democrats have not had a chance to retool their 2009 handiwork.
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That Republicans have recently raised the possibility of repealing the ACA without immediately replacing it suggests they’re willing to see millions of Americans lose their insurance if it allows them to keep a political promise. But keeping that promise at any cost would be even worse politics for Republicans, and many of them know that.
Perhaps as a threat to his troops, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said last week that Republicans might — oh, the horror — have to work with Democrats to stabilize the country’s health care markets. That should have happened long ago, but if it does happen now, we’ll take it.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, for one, seems ready to get serious; he has said he won’t vote for a bill that guts Medicaid, and that would hurt elderly and disabled Americans and already struggling rural hospitals. We continue to hope he and others will sit down with Democratic colleagues like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has proposed that individuals in counties that lack a private health insurance option should be allowed to buy a plan from the same Washington, D.C., exchange members of Congress use.
On Sunday, Arizona Sen. John McCain stated the obvious in a sensible way: If the current bill fails, he said, Republicans should allow Democrats to become “part of the process.” Though it wasn’t their first choice, joint ownership of some improvements would be better for the GOP than sole ownership of a debacle.