Congress

What, You Mean Repealing Obamacare Has Consequences?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

To say the dog has caught the car may be a cliche, but I can't think of anything more appropriate right now.

Today's events, including a congressional Republican meeting with Mike Pence, has made it crystal clear that the GOP has no idea what they're doing. They aren't sure which parts of Obamacare they will keep and which parts they will repeal. They don't have a plan to pass a replacement. They don't even have a plan for repealing it.

What they do know, and what they're now realizing, is that they will own whatever comes next.

A Republican senator on condition of anonymity said the details of the repeal bill remain very uncertain. Originally, Republicans were planning to simply bring back the bill they put on Obama’s desk last year for his veto.

But that bill was written knowing it wouldn’t become law, and now some Republicans want to make tweaks to soften the blow of repeal.

"Even people who voted for this before are, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, we knew that wasn’t going to happen,’" said the senator. "There were no consequences." He said there’s a growing sense among some of his colleagues that they need to have a replacement for Obamacare ready soon "because we’re going to own this."

Just before the Christmas break, I quipped that the only way Obamacare will survive is if Republicans are simply too incompetent to repeal and replace it.

I still believe they will repeal it, but there will be no replacement. I believe the best case scenario for beneficiaries is if repeal is delayed long enough for Democrats to regain control of Congress or the White House or both.

Republicans are reportedly considering setting a 3 to 4 year timetable for repeal, so that may be possible. That is assuming we don't all die in a nuclear winter between now and then.

  • Christopher Foxx

    He said there’s a growing sense among some of his colleagues that they need to have a replacement for Obamacare ready soon “because we’re going to own this.”

    Typical Republican: “Wait a minute, wait a minute. I’m starting to think we may actually have to do something.”

  • Draxiar

    You know why they’re having a hard time replacing it? It’s, as Mighty Joe stated, ‘a big fucking deal’. It’s a good friggin’ program and it’s popular. They’re the kid that threatens to hold his breath unless he gets what he wants. Well, good luck with that you little brats!

  • muselet

    It’s remarkable that the Rs, having spent seven years moaning about the ACA and promising its repeal soonest and swearing up and down they were just weeks away from a Republican alternative to the ACA (and it would be awesome!), have no clue how to proceed. Why, it’s almost as if they spent that entire time lying to the American people.

    I have no doubt Chuck Todd will stroke his face mullet thoughtfully on Sunday and blame Both Sides. Sic semper erat, et sic semper erit. (Thus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be.)

    –alopecia

    • JMAshby

      Remember the (multiple) white papers they produced on repealing Obamacare? They’ve had 6 years to craft a replacement and all they could ever manage was a set of talking points.

      • waspuppet

        Remember when it was being proposed and debated and they screamed “READ THE BILL!”? It’s been law for six years and they still haven’t.

        And again, the normalization: On my TV and radio, it’s being explained very calmly to me that repealing Obamacare could get complicated as Republicans begin to learn what’s actually in it. Because — um, it’s been a sooper-sekrit law up until now, I guess is what I’m being asked to believe.

    • gescove

      “Face mullet”. I am laughing the laugh of laughs.

  • Aynwrong

    Best advice I could give D’s right now: OBSTRUCT! Draw as wide, clear and bright line of distinction as possible between themselves and the GOP. Make their hope to preserve the ACA as clear and as plain spoken as possible. Then if the law is repealed (God forbid) not only make them own this but leave your party in the best position possible to knock down the inevitable “both sides” cover story.

    Right now, relentlessness and clarity are the best (maybe only) tools the D’s have at their disposal. Chuck Schumer was comforting to listen to on Maddow last night. He knows the system in and out and he knows how to fight. That’s what we need. COMPETENCE!

    Side note: Take whatever help you can from someone like Joe Manchin if he’s even willing. But be prepared to throw him and other Vichy Democrats under the first available bus. We need unity above all else!

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    “We’re going to own this”

    HA!

    Like the Party of Personal Responsibility has any intention of accepting ownership of anything. Any subsequent mess is going to be Obama’s fault for having passed it in the first place (over, of course, the strident objections of the stalwart, honorable, and wise GOP).

    • Christopher Foxx

      Any subsequent mess is going to be Obama’s fault for having passed it in the first place

      “It’s all his fault for showing the people that government can do things that help them. It he’d listened to us, government would have continued to screw people over and we wouldn’t be having this problem.”