AW, Republicans Struggling With ACA Repeal Plan! Politics Is HARD!
Credit: Karoli Kuns
January 27, 2017

Republicans are coming to Jesus on their cynical plan to repeal the ACA. It was one thing to vote to repeal it when they knew it wouldn't actually happen and entirely another to now have the necessary pieces to actually do so.

A secret recording of a discussion at this week's Republican retreat sent to the Washington Post exposes their concerns, and opens a door for us.

They know whatever they do will be branded with the Trump name, for example.

“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created [with repeal],” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.

You betcha, big boy.

Senator Lamar Alexander worries about short-term impacts:

“Our goal, in my opinion, should be not a quick fix. We can do it rapidly — but not a quick fix,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “We want a long-term solution that lowers costs.”

That would be Medicare for All. Don't tell him, though.

I'll admit that this one actually surprised me, and in a good way.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) worried that one idea floated by Republicans — a refundable tax credit — won’t work for middle-class families that can’t afford to prepay their premiums and wait for a tax refund.

I never thought Pete Sessions had the head to understand that. But he's exactly right. Refundable tax credits do not work for anyone but wealthy people.

Looks like the politics of de-funding Planned Parenthood are a concern, too.

And Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.,) a freshman congressman from the Hudson Valley, warned strongly against using the repeal of the ACA to also defund Planned Parenthood. “We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill,” he said. “If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.”

Speaker Paul Ryan indicated he didn't really care about that minefield. Faso's comments, according to the Post, were greeted with tepid applause. Because life.

There are also concerns about putting the repeal piece through under reconciliation. This is also good.

“The fact is, we cannot repeal Obamacare through reconciliation,” said McClintock. “We need to understand exactly, what does that reconciliation market look like? And I haven’t heard the answer yet.”

It's always about the markets with these yahoos, but let's use that as leverage. The markets are on our side, here.

The Medicaid expansion is definitely a cause for GOP lawmakers' heartburn.

One Republican lawmaker asked panelists a “simple question:” Will states have the ability to maintain the expanded Medicaid rolls provided for under the ACA?

“These are decisions we have to make,” replied another. “That’s why we are here today.”

Narrowing those Medicaid rolls would be a political disaster for every state where it's been expanded. Republican governors relied on those Medicaid dollars to balance their budget.

And then there is this:

Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) also worried that the plans under GOP consideration could eviscerate coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans now covered through state and federal marketplaces as well as those covered under Medicaid expansion: “We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”

All of this means that the calls and pressure, particularly on Republican lawmakers, is working. Keep it up. Keep calling, writing, telling your stories. And keep pressure on Democrats to not only oppose repeal, but not help Republicans replace it. Whatever replacement they have will not be equal to the benefits of the ACA.

Congress needs to understand that they stand more to gain politically by NOT repealing the ACA and instead repairing the areas that need to be repaired and strengthened.

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