Remember the Republican 2010 “repeal and replace” Obamacares mantra? Well, kiss that goodbye. Their new mantra is “repeal” and deal.
With the Supreme Court expected to rule on the Affordable Healthcare Act within the next two weeks, Republicans are taking yet another out of touch, premature victory tour, gloating about having no plans to replace healthcare reform. They are swearing to repeal any parts left standing. No, seriously — Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) explained, “The goal is to repeal anything that is left standing.”
The reason Republicans won’t give reporters their plan to replace Obamacares is because they have no intention of replacing it any time soon. Michael Steele dodged the question with the two year old stale talking point that Republicans won’t be making the mistake that Democrats made in “passing a bill no one read.”
What Steele meant, of course, was that he figures most Americans will buy that Republicans did not read it, or have their highly paid aides read it. In theory, the people should be outraged by this, as they pay legislators to do just this – read bills. But instead, Republicans have sold a segment of the population on how wrong it was for Democrats to expect them to do their jobs. In reality, most legislators never read full bills but that doesn’t stop them from voting. Furthermore, Republicans confuse ideology with governing, as we’ve seen in their two page “plans” that are nothing but empty bumper sticker slogans.
Republicans are disingenuously claiming that because some health insurance companies say they will keep parts of AHA, there’s no need for Republicans to come up with a replacement plan. Of course, when you look at the fine print, only a few companies have offered to do so, and those offers are very limited in terms of whom they impact. Folks with individual polices and small group plans will get a few of the benefits of AHA, but those with large employer plans will be subject to their employer’s whim.
As for the Medicare doughnut hole, seniors are on their own under the Republican wing. The framing on this is just priceless, “I don’t think anybody intends to get involved,” is how Republicans are responding to questions about Medicare prescription coverage. Give Republican spin doctor Luntz a Krispy Kreme for ducking the ramifications while alluding to “less government involvement” as a way of avoiding telling seniors they will be paying more for prescription coverage.
Republicans are hitting the ideological wall on healthcare reform. They made a lot of big promises in order to get back into power in 2010. “Repeal and replace,” they shouted in unison. But now, the party faces the more difficult task of actually coming to a consensus on policy. How much can they cut before they invade on territory Americans won’t stand for? And how long can they claim to be fiscal conservatives as an excuse for making these cuts, while cutting taxes for the rich and raising taxes on the middle class? And just how long can they fool the public about their reasons for not supporting AHA? After all, Obamacares has been shown to cut costs while expanding coverage. It is both fiscally sound and benefits the common good.
Highlighting the inner party dissension is the conservative mantra of “less government” while at the same time, Republicans across the country are pushing invasive laws that insert government right between a woman and her doctor, threatening to keep our female troops from access to certain kinds of medical care in the name of their religious beliefs, and using the ballot box to limit Constitutional rights for gay citizens.
It’s hard to be the party of freedom under the Tea Tent.
Republicans are learning the hard lesson that it’s much easier to criticize and much harder to govern. But then, the grown ups already knew that. That’s why the healthcare reform bill was as long as it was; it actually addressed the many issues that arise when the law is changed. As legislators, Republicans should understand this, but instead the public gives them a pass on their whining that the bill was too long to read. One wonders exactly what we’re paying Republicans and their aides to do in DC, if not read bills.
In all of their sure-footed gloating about their plans to quickly repeal AHA when they take over the country, Republicans are willfully misreading the polls about healthcare reform. Jason Easley debunked Republicans’ meme that the “majority” want Obamacares repealed. Only 34% of the public wants AHA repealed, which is to say the conservative voters who still believe it contains death panels and Hitler want it repealed.
Yet a full 70% want healthcare reform to expand coverage and control costs, as AHA does.
When likely voters were asked in the latest Suffolk University poll whether they thought the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, modified, or left alone, only 34% thought that the law should be repealed. Thirty two percent thought the law should be modified, twenty three percent want the law to be left alone, and eleven percent was undecided. Fifty three percent of respondents said that the healthcare reform law was intended to expand coverage. Eight percent thought the purpose of the law was to control costs and nineteen percent believed that it was supposed to do both. Interestingly, 70% of those surveyed thought the goal of healthcare reform should be to both expand coverage and control costs.
70% of voters want healthcare reform, but Republicans have no plan to replace AHA with anything. Republicans are confusing people’s answers on yes/no polls with a disagreement with Obama’s policy, and that is not the case. The issue is that most people still don’t understand how AHA impacts them, as the law doesn’t fully take effect until 2014.
56% of the public wants Obamacare or a more liberal plan. If the Supreme Court overturns parts of AHA, the Democrats have an opening to campaign on giving the people what they really want — universal healthcare, also known as Medicare for everyone.
Of course, in order to actually achieve such change, Democrats would need a majority in Congress and they would need their base to publicly support a well-framed argument for universal healthcare.
The question is, have Democrats and their base learned anything from 2010?
Governing is constant compromise; Republicans are learning this the hard way. But they always have their base in their corner, giving them all of the political cover they need by screaming Republican framing at the top of their lungs at Town Halls and spamming online publications. Democrats aren’t nearly so organized and the long-winded talking points they do manage to come up with are too often ignored by the corporate media machine.
The way to get change is to advocate for universal healthcare rather than lobbing criticism at the reform passed (see Republicans using yes/no healthcare reform polls to justify taking it away instead of being forced to face that people want it), to frame universal healthcare as Medicare for everyone, and to push representatives to adopt it by having large groups publicly demonstrating for it until they do.
Republicans are out on another limb with their clueless crowing about “repealing” anything left standing in the AHA. Americans like their Obamacare. It’s just that some of them want it to go further. Where are the Republican ideas for “replacing” Obamacares? They don’t have any. They never intended to replace it.
“Repeal and replace” was just a slogan to avoid getting caught having to explain that their real plan was to leave Americans at the mercy of corporate insurance companies. But it’s two years later and apparently the American people aren’t going to get to ask 2010 Republicans what happened to “replace.”
Just when will the public demand that a no vote on healthcare reform means that Congressional member loses his or her own health insurance?