Monday, February 06, 2017
What Happened To "Repeal And Replace" ?
At the start of the 115th Congress, Republicans were gleeful about their control of the government, and they bragged that they would now quickly repeal Obamacare and replace it with a "better" plan of their own. They even bragged that they would have that repeal ready for the new president to sign on his first day in office.
That didn't happen. The next date set by them was January 27th. That didn't happen either. What has happened to their plans to "repeal and replace"? In short, it is proving to be a lot more difficult than they had expected (and more politically dangerous for them).
First, they have been unable to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare -- a plan that would allow those with insurance to keep it and would hold insurance premium costs down. They have been wanting to replace Obamacare for years now, but could never agree (even among themselves) on a replacement plan, and that is still true. And they know the public would never accept repeal without a good plan to replace it.
Second, they are getting scared of what the repeal would bring. It's not just the 20 million or so that would lose their insurance if Obamacare was repealed (and would react angrily in the next election), but the general public at large. The GOP can read polls, and multiple polls have shown the public doesn't want Obamacare repealed. They want the parts of it that aren't working well to be fixed. If the GOP repeals Obamacare without replacing it with a good plan, they could face disaster in the next election -- and they are starting to realize that.
Will Obamacare be repealed? Maybe, but there won't be a plan that accomplishes anywhere near what Obamacare did. And because of that, it's now possible that it won't be repealed -- but fixed on a piece by piece basis. Of course, the Republicans will claim it has been repealed and replaced, but they may well be just doing what the public wants -- fixing Obamacare.
(The chart above is from a recent survey by Public Policy Polling -- done on January 30th and 31st of a random national sample of 725 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.6 points.)