One more time: The GOP wouldn’t replace Obamacare with anything

With the repeal of Obamacare tomorrow a real possibility, the House Democratic leadership plans to distribute this card to Dem members and other outside allies — a visual representation of the fact that Republicans have no plan to replace any of Obamacare’s key provisions with anything:


After all, House Republicans have now basically admitted that they have no intention to replace Obamacare anytime soon:

[R]epublicans will be in no rush to pass any health care legislation besides a straight repeal measure after the Supreme Court rules. They’re going to let legislation slowly wind its way through committees and get debated, dissected and amended. If the entire law or part of the law is upheld, the House GOP would vote for repeal, of course — they already have.

This includes the most popular parts of the law, including measures that cover people with pre-existing conditions, allow young adults under 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance, and close the gap in Medicare drug coverage. At most, reports Politico, Republicans have promised a process — they won’t “ram” the law through:

[A]t this point, Republicans aren’t exactly feeling any urgency to do anything proactive if the Supreme Court knocks down any or all of the law. The reasoning behind the go-slow approach is to show a contrast with Democrats, whom they accused of writing a 2,000-page bill in Democratic leaders’ offices and jamming it through Congress, launching nationwide protests while ensuring the political demise of many House Democrats in the 2010 elections.

It’s unfortunate that Politico uncritically repeats the myth that this was an unprecedented abuse of legislative power. The Affordable Care Act was forced through Congress in the same way that all legislation is; the designated committees crafted the bill, the opposition was given plenty of time to offer objections (see Six, Gang of), and in the Senate, the majority gathered 50 plus one votes to pass the bill, as well as 60 votes to break a filibuster. The grassroots backlash — which was generated by the Republican base — had more to do with the bill’s very existence, and not the process of its passage.

Conservatives have long been opposed to universal coverage — they see access to health care as a privilege, not a right. Republican support for the individual mandate was a response to the perception that they had to provide an alternative. But now that liberals have adopted that alternative as their own, conservatives have abandoned the pretense of concern.

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, we will rediscover — quickly, we think — that Republicans aren’t actually interested in health care reform. Eventually, circumstances (and the insurance industry) will force Congress to act; the health care system is simply too dysfunctional. Until then, however, Republicans will seem to be content with millions of uninsured Americans.

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