We have been tracking the erosion of GOP support for their leaders’ ill-conceived “repeal and we’ll come up with something” Obamacare strategy. The dam burst on Monday as multiple senators came forward to state their objections. In some fashion or another, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) have all expressed reservations about repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan. If Democrats all oppose “repeal and delay,” only three of those seven can kill the strategy.

Senators objecting to repeal without immediate replacement reflect public opinion. A Morning Consult-Politico poll found: “Nearly two-thirds of registered voters say Congress should not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan. … That includes 61 percent of independent voters and 48 percent of Republicans who said there should be a ‘clear alternative announced’ before repealing the 2010 health care law.”  The outlook for repeal without immediate replacement gets worse when you get down to the substance of the legislation:

When asked about the fates of individual provisions within the law, respondents thought many of the provisions asked about should be left as is. Generally, people were more supportive of leaving individual parts of the law alone than they were repealing them.
When it comes to the law’s provision prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to customers with pre-existing conditions, 66 percent of voters said it should be left as is, while 19 percent said it should be repealed. A majority (53 percent) of those asked said a provision requiring insurers to cover the costs of prescription birth control should be left alone, while 30 percent said it should be repealed.

A Kaiser poll shows 47 percent do not want Obamacare repealed while 28 percent want it repealed with a replacement. Only 20 percent want Congress to repeal it first and work on the details later.

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Even in the House, rumblings of discontent from Freedom Caucus members and others about the lack of a specific plan get louder by the day. Freedom Caucus chief Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) is talking about a vote for a replacement “the same day [as the repeal] or shortly after that.” The more he talks, however, the more clear it becomes that no replacement plan exists (“perhaps … multiple bills”).

Frankly, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) does not help himself with a blizzard of statements pointing out known Obamacare problems. “Doubling down on government-run health care isn’t the answer. That’s why House Republicans introduced a better way to do health care,” he said in one. Fine, so he should show Americans the details and put it to a vote. He, however, continues to make the replacement task more difficult by raising expectations about what his plan can accomplish. (“While you can’t break what’s already broken, you can keep a promise you made to the American people — greater access to affordable, quality, patient-centered care.”) From a political standpoint, why should his members proceed with “repeal and delay” when the Senate very well may reject it and the public overwhelmingly opposes the tactic?

House Republicans, like most every professional politician and media figure, never imagined that Donald Trump would win. Nevertheless, they’ve had two months to formulate a replacement. They have wasted time and lost credibility by spending it on a half-baked “repeal and replace” plan. Getting a “quick win” has turned into a “stumble out of the gate.” They should stop, regroup, decide on a replacement and proceed from there.

UPDATE: By Tuesday Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was promising the repeal and replacement would happen “concurrently,” whatever that means.

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