Repeal, Replace Not Easy Task
House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earned fame for dismissing concerns about Obamacare in 2010 by advising that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”
At the time, Pelosi was speaker of the House and passing the Affordable Care Act was easy because her party controlled both Congress and the White House. Now that Americans have found out what was in the bill, millions are deeply unhappy with it.
Times change. Now, Republican President Donald Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. Both houses of Congress have GOP majorities.
But in contrast to the arrogance of Pelosi and her fellow Democrats in shoving Obamacare down our throats without even explaining it in advance, Republican lawmakers are taking a different approach. This week, leaders in the House released their proposal to repeal and replace.
And while Democrats were able to use a solid front to enact Obamacare, things are different with Republicans. Many GOP senators, including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., are deeply concerned about the House plan.
Some of their concerns may be valid — but it will be virtually impossible to craft a replacement bill that pleases everyone. If ever compromise was the key to politics, it is now.
Here are some things members of Congress should bear in mind:
– Failure is not an option. Obamacare has been detrimental to so many people that even if it was not on a path to collapse for financial reasons, it must be replaced.
– Haste makes waste — and serious mistakes. Democrat leaders are pushing the GOP majority in Congress to act speedily. That is a trap into which the reformers should not allow themselves to fall.
– Obamacare was a gigantic new entitlement. Between expansion of Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance, it handed something out to between 26 million and 28 million Americans. No one seemed to worry about who would pay — but that must be a consideration now.
– Simply dumping responsibility to pay for benefits on the states would be irresponsible.
– Finding ways to make health care more affordable — something Obamacare did not do — should be a priority.
– It may be impossible to repair all the damage done by Obamacare. Trump and fellow Republicans need to come as close as possible, however.
The repeal and replace campaign is being subject to far more scrutiny than Obamacare had to endure. That will not be pleasant for the reformers — but after the many deceptions involved in the original law, openness and honesty about the replacement is a good thing.