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5 Things The GOP Won’t Tell You About Obamacare

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5 Things The GOP Won’t Tell You About Obamacare


This article originally appeared in USA Today.

When it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare, many have compared the GOP to the dog that caught the car, or the ambulance.

Republicans know better than anyone that Democrats paid a steep price for insuring millions of people. Now, after televised scenes of furious Americans rallying against repeal even before the new president took office, they’re beginning to see that uninsuring millions won’t be as much fun as slamming snout first into a bumper at full speed.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Donald Trump told The Washington Post a few days before he was sworn in.

You can bet no one has any idea what that actually means. That includes Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, who dodged details at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday. It also includes Trump, who has yet to demonstrate that he actually knows what’s in the Affordable Care Act, let alone how he would replace it.

Health care reform isn’t a branding problem you can tweet away with strategic misspellings, huge empty promises of “something terrific,” or even a meeting with Family Feud’s Steve Harvey.

Health insurance isn’t a wall you can pretend to build.

You don’t need a fact-checker to tell you that you’ve been uninsured. And there will be no President Obama around to blame when Trump voters can’t pay medical bills because an insurance market Republicans have promised to fix suddenly begins to crumble.

Here’s what Republicans won’t tell you about the mess they’ve gotten us all into:

1. If they go through with any substantive repeal of the Affordable Care Act, they probably won’t be able to replace it — ever.

If you want to cover “everybody,” you either have to establish some meaningless standard for coverage that evaporates any time you have an ailment bigger than half a hangnail, or you have to spend money — even more than the billions of dollars Republicans are eager to give back to the richest Americans. “If you end it in three years without a replacement, what Republican is going to vote for a tax increase to fund it?” asked Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). “I don’t know any.”

2. Repeal isn’t inevitable.

“Right after the election, Republicans vowed to have a repeal bill on Trump’s desk on January 20,” Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the Center for American Progress, told me. “That timeline has already slipped, and is slipping even more as we speak.” Senate Republicans have shown they have the simple majority they need for repeal, but about a half dozen of their 52 members have expressed concerns about repealing Obamacare without a decent replacement. That’s more than enough to create uncertainty.

3. If Trump has an actual plan to cover everybody, Republicans would be his problem.

“Most fundamentally, [Republicans] have no idea how to keep their promise to cover as many people as the Affordable Care Act,” Spiro explained. “That’s because it’s a false promise: Expanding and maintaining coverage is not, and has never been, their goal. But they just can’t seem to come out and admit that they don’t care if people lose coverage.” Trump told The Washington Post, “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it.” The “circles” he’s referring to are better known as “The Republican Party.”

4. Repeal could weaken everyone’s insurance.

Obamacare removed both yearly and lifetime caps on insurance, something you only probably noticed if you or a family member has had a serious illness. As Spiro notes, it also expanded free coverage of preventive services like colon cancer screening, mammograms, and flu shots. And it put a limit on what insurance companies can charge for out-of-pocket costs. All of that affects even those who get insurance at work.

5. If a replacement plan did pass, it would leave Republicans open to the fiercest attack they made on the ACA.

Having no ability to repeal the law gave Republicans the freedom to attack Obamcare for offering their favorite kind of insurance — high-deductible plans that force consumers to think about price as they make medical decisions. GOP proposals “offer threadbare, catastrophic coverage with enormous deductibles,” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote. “The English vernacular term for the kind of insurance Republican health care plans would offer is ‘crappy.’ ”

Trump promised us “something terrific.” He just didn’t explain it was a terrific mess that could end with Americans finally discovering how much they had gained, right as he takes it away.

IMAGE: House Speaker Paul Ryan hands the pen to Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s HHS nominee, after signing a bill repealing Obamacare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst



  1. dbtheonly February 2, 2017

    The rebranding has started. It’s now “repair” Obamacare.

    But whatever the Reoublicans drag out of the morass of for-profit health insurance; rest assured that the totality of the RWMO will be telling us 24/7/365 how great it is.

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    2. dpaano February 3, 2017

      And 45 will be crowing about how wonderful he was to have “fixed” it so hugely!!!

      1. dbtheonly February 3, 2017

        I fully expect Trump to claim the credit for having the sun to rise in the morning, the rain to fall, and flowers to bloom in the spring.

        1. dpaano February 6, 2017

          Well, DB, he DID stop the rain at the inauguration, right?

  2. Eleanore Whitaker February 2, 2017

    The Republicans NEVER had any healthcare reform plan. Not since Gingrich and his good ole good ole boys decided that healthcare reform was anathema to their campaign donations.

    The reality in this country is that PARTY IS GOVERNMENT. Is that what the Constitution states? Or, does it state in the Bill of Rights that WE the PEOPLE must promote the general welfare?

    It is long past time to face the reality that since the Republicans were so thoroughly embarassed by Nixon’s WaterGate, Reagan’s IranContraGate, Bush ’41’s ONE Term Presidency and Bush ’43’s all too numerous screw ups, that the Republican Party wants government to be identified ONLY with PARTY, not people.

    Take a good look at how McConnell took up Gingrich anti healthcare reform standard bearing flag and has done whatever he could to “Get RID of Obama.”

    Party is not government. People are government and if those people are pushed to their limits, anarchy in the streets results. If that’s what the PARTY of Republicans wants, it isn’t far off. Already the Dems have refused to attend any more of the hearings on the Hump’s appointees. So what does the RULING PARTY DO? They change Parliamentary Procedure and nullify the quorum that demands at least one Democrat be included in the proceedings.

    I’ve posted over and over that the Republican Party as it presently exists has got to go. Once you add that mentally defective nut in the White House, lack of proper healthcare, Republican Regimes that live on Koch demands, you see how far the Republicans have gone to takeover OUR government.

    No matter what else anyone says, one party rule is dictatorship. The only reason the Republicans refused to even meet with the Obama SC appointee is because the KOCH boys knew he would rule in favor of investigations into “dark money.” So now they have Gorsuch who will always rule in favor of DARK MONEY, BIG Corporations and defy the US Constitution that protects INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

    Not to worry. Thanks to Trump, even if Americans began to seek refuge in other countries, we would now be denied. So, we can’t leave and if we stay, we become employees of the Republican Trump Regime.

  3. rednekokie February 2, 2017

    I think some Republicans still actually believe their own nonsense — that they can repeal and replace a reasonably good health care act with one which, to them, doesn’t seem as noxious, because it doesn’t come from a black president.
    However, most of them are awakening to the fact that this is nonsense. Americans have been exposed to and enjoyed the affordable care act, and all that it provides. To take that away now, and replace it with some cheap (to the government, they think) substitute will be the downfall of the Republican hold on government. Although I live in Oklahoma, a supposedly “red” state, most people I know who claim to be Republicans, are that way solely because those are the primaries they can vote in. They have no particular allegiance to the Republican party — after all, they all were Democrats until Johnson signed the equality acts which he did, and said at the time that it would mean the end fo the Democratic party in the south for the next 50 years. I suspect he got the timing right..
    Health care displacement will do the same – in the opposite direction.
    And I’m glad for that.

    1. FireBaron February 2, 2017

      Also, consider this – many of those same folks enjoying health care insurance for the first time come from GOP represented districts. How are they going to tell their constituents that they removed their right to buy health insurance for their own good?

      1. rednekokie February 2, 2017

        Quite simply — the way they have, to date, explained everything to them. Lie. Lie. Lie.. like a rug — Lie!

        1. dpaano February 3, 2017

          Oh, you mean “alternate facts?”

          1. rednekokie February 3, 2017

            Of course not. There is no such thing as an “alternate fact’. A statement is either a fact, or it is not.
            What they do is simply lie — tell falsehoods — say things which are not true.
            What they say is so far from a fact, that it is ludicrous.

            tRumpublicans only lie — they know nothing else.

          2. dpaano February 6, 2017

            I agree…..my definition of “alternate fact” is an out-and-out LIE!!! 45 can tell all the “alternate facts” he wants, but we all know that he lies constantly. We know this because he can’t remember half the lies that he’s told, and that’s the sign of a liar. If you tell the truth, you never forget the truth!!!

  4. bobnstuff February 2, 2017

    The healthcare industry spent $660 million to make people hate Obamacare. Now that the republicans are truly in power they have to deal with two realities, people hate Obamacare but people like having insurance. The insurance companies like having everyone being forced to buy their product but hate that they have to stand behind what they sell. Doctors and hospitals like getting paid for their services but want more money and like being able to pad their bills. For six years the Republicans could blame the Democrats and Obama for the problems but who do they get to blame now? As the old saying goes”Be careful what you wish for”.

    1. FireBaron February 2, 2017

      It’s even better. Now that the health care industry HAS the ACA, they realize the administrative nightmare it would be if it were repealed and no replacement on the horizon. Their actuaries need to understand future coverage requirements to determine costs, benefits, etc. If Congress leaves an open ended function like that, the insurance companies will have no way to predict what the anticipated needs for the future may be, and to calculate accordingly.

  5. A_Real_Einstein February 2, 2017

    All the GOP cares about is repealing the taxes pn households with 250k in income that pay for the ACA. Nothing more to it. They have no intention of replacing it because then their donors would have to pay for it. Follow the money. Matthew 25:45

    1. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

      Maybe you shouldn’t have helped them get elected then.

      1. dpaano February 3, 2017

        I don’t think Einstein said he DID vote for 45….maybe I can’t read, but I didn’t notice that in his post????

        1. I Am Helpy February 3, 2017

          He spent the whole election fighting against Clinton and spreading right-wing conspiracy theories. He STILL does.

          1. dtgraham February 5, 2017

            And you spent the entire primaries spreading utter nonsense about what an a$$hole Bernie Sanders is, and you would have surely continued that had Bernie won the nomination. Bernie spent the whole general election urging his primary supporters to get behind Hillary and support her.

            Incidentally, people who support one candidate in the primaries generally spend some of their time “fighting against” that candidate’s opponents in the primaries.

          2. I Am Helpy February 5, 2017

            OK sorry you’re mad about the things you made up. Doesn’t excuse you helping Trump for one second.

          3. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            No, I certainly didn’t make it up. You had a real hate-on for Bernie. However, as one poster recently pointed out, there are a lot more serious issues and problems right now than relitigating the primaries. Obviously Hillary would have been about a gazillion times better as a President than the current maniac.

            You still seem to feel that Bernie’s candidacy killed Hillary in the end, and she should have been allowed to run unopposed. Although I have no idea how his candidacy did that, because she sabotaged herself in so many ways…but if that were actually true, then I wish that Bernie had never thrown his hat in the ring even though he moved the party leftwards (which you hate). If that were true, then moving the Democratic party leftwards wasn’t worth this.

            There, are we good?

          4. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Yeah, I don’t care about your imaginary thoughtcrimes. No fictitious flaw of mine excuses you from helping Trump win.

          5. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            I’m sorry that I ever held out an olive branch to you…you semi-literate, contemptuous, disdainful, little a$$hole. You never meaningfully assist the progressive-left in their arguments against the Republican trolls. You just throw out your childish one-liners, many of which don’t even make a lot of sense, and then think you’ve scored.

            I know you get off on playing others. You’re so godd*mned dense that you don’t even know when YOU’VE been played.

          6. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Yes you “held out an olive branch” by making up some insulting flaws and crowing about your own perfection. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED.

            You are not a progressive. You are not a liberal. You are not even a significant part of the Democratic base.

            You are a conspiracy theorist and you are most definitely not an ally.
            The only way the Democratic party wins is by dumping you and the rest of the 101st Purity Signalling Regiment and concentrating on the minority voters you dismiss.

            TL;DR You remain garbage that helped actual fascists win because of your own overweening privilege and ego.

          7. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            Ironically, the biggest helper of Trump was you. You helped to nominate a deeply flawed candidate who sabotaged herself, was detested by much of the country, and couldn’t beat Trump. You helped kick to the curb the one who would have.

          8. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Yes you were FORCED to help Trump because nobody respected your white privilege.

          9. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            I think they were both white, unless Hillary was doing an Al Jolson thing in reverse all these years.

          10. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Yes I get that you’re really goddam stupid. No need to reinforce my opinion.

          11. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            Settle down Tourette boy. If you want to see privilege, read some of Hillary’s comments in Wikileaks when she was rubbing one out in private with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

          12. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            OK thanks for illustrating the right-wing propaganda you willingly spread. No amount of words would have made my point so perfectly for me.

          13. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            Not propaganda when they’re true. Wasserman-Schultz resigned and Donna Brazille is now a pariah, both because of Wikileaks.

          14. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            See previous post.

          15. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            I seriously can’t stop laughing at how deluded you are. “All you have to do is agree how great I am and how I never make mistakes and how you’re terrible! Why aren’t you jumping at this deal?”

            You are a joke.

          16. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            You disappoint me. You couldn’t think of this little addendum when making your first reply, which was posted at the same time?

            You are one ungrateful wretch, Tourette boy. You should be glad I’m here. I keep you company. I’m the only one who ever replies to you occasionally, even if it is just to insult you. Except for your last meltdown rant, you never have an original post or thought. Just an unending series of replies to Republican posters…with the entirety of the reply being, “Sorry you’re a Nazi.” “I hope that helps.”

            Let’s face it Tourette boy, that doesn’t generate a lot of interest in what you have to say. You’re not even worth it for the right wingers to respond to. What do the right wing trolls refer to you as amongst themselves? “The little septic filler.” That’s it right?

          17. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Sorry you’re like this! Get better soon!

          18. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            That’s my boy. Keeps me coming back.

          19. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Yes, you are after all two different kinds of bigot.

          20. dtgraham February 6, 2017

            And you secretly love both.

          21. I Am Helpy February 6, 2017

            Uh huh.

    2. dpaano February 3, 2017

      From what I’ve read, many doctors and medical organizations bombarded Congress this week, telling them that doing away with Obamacare was the wrong thing to do and telling them that minor changes in Obamacare would be more beneficial! When the actual doctors speak against the repeal of Obamacare, you KNOW you’ve got the edge!

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  7. dpaano February 3, 2017

    And, the most people who would be harmed are those that voted for 45!!! They were all gungho about repealing it, but they won’t be so energetic when they find out they have no insurance and will have to die rather than have money to see a doctor!!!

    1. MJ Hoop February 6, 2017

      They lose their coverage, they’ll just blame it on Obama. Count on it.

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