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Don’t Believe The Hype: Republicans Still Don’t Have A Health Care Plan

Memo Pad Politics

Don’t Believe The Hype: Republicans Still Don’t Have A Health Care Plan

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the Capitol Rotunda on the way to the State of the Union Address, Jan. 20, 2015. (Talk Radio News Service via Flickr)

With the Supreme Court considering a case that could unravel the Affordable Care Act, leaving some 8.2 million Americans suddenly uninsured and sending premiums skyrocketing, the Republican Party has a comforting message for voters: We have a solution.

“As Supreme Court Weighs Health Law, GOP Plans to Replace It,” blares the headline in Friday’s New York Times. In the article, reporter Jonathan Weisman asserts that “the search for a replacement by Republican lawmakers is finally gaining momentum.”

A legislative scramble is underway. On Monday, Representatives Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Fred Upton of Michigan and John Kline of Minnesota, the chairmen of the powerful committees that control health policy, proposed what they called an “off ramp” from the Obama health act that would let states opt out of the law’s central requirements.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, all Republicans, offered their own plan this week to provide temporary assistance to those who would lose their subsidies and new freedom to all states to redesign their health care marketplaces without the strictures and mandates of the health care law.

So are Republicans really ready to finally advance a health care reform bill of their own?

Probably not.

While the House and Senate groups both laid out broad visions for new health care laws, neither offered any sort of details on how their plans would actually work. Saying that “we would provide financial assistance to help Americans keep the coverage they picked for a transitional period,” as the Senate Republicans promise, sounds great. But until they explain how much financial assistance they would provide, or how long the transitional period would last, it is a hollow bromide. Similarly, the House Republicans’ plan to form “a working group to propose a way out for the affected states if the court rules against the administration” sounds great — but Americans still have no idea what, exactly, the way out would be.

Of course, it’s possible that Congress will fill in the details in the coming weeks. But it’s incredibly unlikely. After all, Republicans have literally been promising a detailed alternative to the Affordable Care Act for six years, and so far it’s not much closer to reality than it was in 2009. Why should this time be any different?

Even if Republicans did coalesce around a health care plan of their own, it’s almost impossible to imagine a significant reform passing both the House and Senate. The GOP already has deep divisions on health care policy, and they are likely to intensify as the 2016 elections draw nearer. Republicans who face tough re-election fights will be loath to vote on a controversial measure with such high political stakes (a side effect of the GOP’s all-out war against President Obama’s health care policy).

Put simply: If the Republican Congress could barely come together to avoid a self-inflicted shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, there is no reason to believe that they could pass a massive reform bill on the most radioactive issue in politics.

Republicans have plenty of good reasons to pretend that they have a solution to the disaster that would ensue if the Supreme Court guts the Affordable Care Act. But until they prove otherwise, the latest batch of Republican Obamacare replacements should be viewed as no more likely to become law than their countless predecessors. And if the Supreme Court does rule against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, no help will be on the way for the Americans who would lose their insurance.

Photo: Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the Capitol Rotunda on the way to the State of the Union Address, Jan. 20, 2015. (Talk Radio News Service via Flickr)

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Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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35 Comments

  1. Wayneo March 7, 2015

    GOP Healthcare plan:

    For the 1% the worlds best health care.

    For the 47% just die if you are sick.

    Reply
    1. latebloomingrandma March 7, 2015

      And there lies the real death panels.

      Reply
      1. idamag March 7, 2015

        There lies the death panels.

        Reply
    2. idamag March 7, 2015

      How did Alan Grayson put it? The Republican health care plan is don’t get sick and if you do, die quickly.

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat March 27, 2015

        Yes, thanks for his name. Wasn’t trying to steal your thunder when I mentioned the GOP “plan” he described above.

        Reply
  2. Dominick Vila March 7, 2015

    The GOP does not have, and will not have, a Healthcare plan run by the Federal government, at a national level, for an obvious reason: they have convinced Americans that such a concept is unconstitutional and clear evidence of evil socialism. Therefore, their only option to avoid a return to the horrible situation we left behind, is to propose healthcare plans run by State governments, using Federal government funding. In addition to not appearing cynical, transferring healthcare plan management responsibility to the states leave it up to the 50 State governments to decide what is best for the constituents – and themselves – in an environment that, by definition, would be absent of oversight, and would turn into a financial bonanza for cash-strapped state governments.

    Reply
    1. Grannysmovin March 7, 2015

      If they are not just giving lip service so Roberts will rule the way the GOP wants, why not fix the ACA. Why does the “responsible” party want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila March 7, 2015

        The reason is, in part, caused by the effects of the demonization of the ACA that, for better or worse, they have engaged in since President Obama proposed healthcare reform. For them, improving or overcoming the weaknesses or inefficiencies in the program is evidence of surrender, which from a political perspective, is totally unacceptable. The ACA, like every other program, needs change to make it as cost effective and efficient as possible. Repealing it is not a solution. Unfortunately, political imperatives, often caused by irresponsible politics, make constructive debate and changes designed to provide the American people the best services possible, make the likelihood of progress an illusion.

        Reply
      2. idamag March 7, 2015

        Yes, if they truly believed in healthcare, they would fix the start instead they want healthcare to be a status symbol.

        Reply
        1. dtgraham March 8, 2015

          Imagine that. Health care as a social status symbol. Now that is really sick (pardon the pun).

          Reply
    2. angelsinca March 8, 2015

      The GOP does not have, and will not have, a Healthcare plan run by the Federal government, at a national level, for an obvious reason: they (the GOP) have convinced Americans that such a concept is unconstitutional and clear evidence of evil socialism.

      Nonsense, Vila. The GOP didn’t brainwash anyone. The government has proved itself incapable of running much of anything, especially the nation’s healthcare system.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila March 8, 2015

        The government has proved incapable of running much of anything? SS, MEDICARE, NASA, NOAA, the CDC, CIA, FBI, NSA, our military and other Federal government institutions have been at the vanguard in their respective areas of responsibility at a global level for decades, and in spite of all the Republican efforts to weaken our governmental institutions and, if possible, get rid of them. In any case, what is the alternative? Are you suggesting our national security should be in the hands of Blackwater USA? Let Lockheed Martin take care of Space Exploration? Replace the CDC with pharmaceuticals and private practice research doctors? That is not going to happen. Not necessarily because those companies could not put together teams to perform the functions currently done by government departments and agencies, but because private enterprise is not in the business of risking sizable investments without a guaranteed ROI.

        Reply
        1. angelsinca March 8, 2015

          Exactly the point. Private enterprise must make the ROI, so it has to perform. The government? Not so much.

          Reply
          1. Dominick Vila March 8, 2015

            Yes, private enterprise must perform and, if possible, exceed expectations to profit and grow. That is why they are not interested in examining new virus strains to develop new vaccines that may or may not sell. That is why they are not interested in modernizing ports and airports. That is why they have no interest whatsoever in space exploration. That is why they don’t invest in weather forecasting, or in pensions for seniors (they have actually cut most private sector pensions and replaced them with lousy 401k plans), etc.
            Bear in mind that when we talk about government programs, the people that do most of the work are private sector contractors on contracts such as cost plus incentive fee awards, which guarantee coverage of all expenditures incurred by the contractor, and an incentive fee based on performance. One of the most interesting parts of this issue is that people often ignore the partnership that exists between the government and the private sector, and how both sides benefit from it.

            Reply
          2. angelsinca March 8, 2015

            Thanks, I know how government contracting works, having worked in that arena most of my life. I watched as program after program was choked by bureaucracy that resulted in $200 toilet seats. They’re doing the same to healthcare.

            Brace yourself for the outcry as the IRS begins to enforce the fines and the business mandate is imposed. Watch as doctor shortages are overshadowed by long wait times and selective procedure allowances.

            Many of us remain hopeful these symptoms of a flawed ACA will be eased, as a major correction takes place, probably through prompting by Republican leadership. So far, the only corrections offered by Democrats has been a denial of the ACA’s inherent flaws and the politically strategic delays in its full implementation.

            Reply
          3. Dominick Vila March 9, 2015

            The $200 toilet seats are a thing of the past. There is no question that there is waste in government programs, and that the government bureaucracy must be streamlined, but steps are being taken to minimize that. An example involves the $700B savings in MEDICARE, which the GOP portrayed as an attack on seniors.
            We had doctor’s shortages for decades. That is the reason so many Indian, Pakistani, Cuban and other foreign doctors practice medicine in the USA. Doctors don’t drop patients or change professions because people who could not pay for the care they receive are now able to pay for it. Democrats, including President Obama, have acknowledged repeatedly that changes are needed to make the ACA more cost-effective and efficient. Unfortunately, the relentless attempts to repeal the program, and the technical programs encountered during its deployment, have made process improvements almost impossible to implement.

            Reply
          4. angelsinca March 11, 2015

            They didn’t just create nearly a trillion in ‘savings’ by being efficient. It’s the Shell Game, Dominic. They moved the funds to feed the ACA debacle. The supposed ‘improvements’ in processes (squeezing blood out of the health care rock) have been delayed for political purposes. Look uo the additional man hours req’d each year to accommodate the added bureaucratic paperwork requirements mandated by the flawed ACA.

            Reply
          5. dpaano March 26, 2015

            Gee, my doctors are THRILLED with Obamacare……as are their patients.

            Reply
      2. dpaano March 26, 2015

        What planet do you live on???? There are over 7 million people with Obamacare that would dispute your claim. Maybe you need to check with some of them rather than believing what the GOP is trying to brainwash you with!!!

        Reply
        1. Blueberry Hill March 26, 2015

          And at this time, there are over 16 MILLION people on the ACA and happy to have healthcare, many for the first time in their lives.

          ..

          Reply
      3. Sand_Cat March 27, 2015

        Only when half of it uses any and all means necessary to destroy the government and the “anything” to which you refer.

        You and I seldom agree, but – despite whatever insults to your intelligence you occasionally post, this one being a good example – I’m confident you’re smart enough to know that what you just posted is BS. Disagree all you like, but don’t embarrass yourself if you want a civil and respectful exchange of ideas, as you claim.

        Reply
  3. aloha597 March 7, 2015

    Compassion? Here we find out a little more about Obamacare’s vicious attacks upon the disabled: http://bit.ly/VaPoQ6

    Reply
    1. idamag March 7, 2015

      Since you are so enlightened: why don’t you give us some examples that can be proved by reliable sources?

      Reply
    2. Sand_Cat March 27, 2015

      Another GOP moron.

      Thanks for verifying all of the unpleasant truths about the GOP health care “plan” and its authors articulated here: nothing speaks louder than the voice of ignorance and bigotry: yours.

      Reply
  4. Blueberry Hill March 7, 2015

    The GOPs want us to think they have a better plan. Well, they don’t, and never will have a health care plan. They don’t want us to have health care. period. They never wanted any of the programs that help us and fought against every single one, from Medicare to Medicaid to Health Care. They don’t give a pile of poop about us. They are in politics to get rich and for their own game. All the Rs got immensely wealthy in our politics. Did we? Nope! Time to kick the Tbagger/thugs out at first opportunity. They work 1/3 of the year and collect a whole year’s wages. Would we be able to do that? Nope!

    ..

    Reply
    1. idamag March 7, 2015

      That is true. They won’t. They don’t believe in healthcare for the masses. If they would put their money where their mouths are, they would give up their taxpayer based lifetime 100% health coverage and buy their own insurance.

      Reply
      1. Blueberry Hill March 7, 2015

        Yes, they have it so easy as we pay their wages, health care, and pensions while they deny the same for us. We should get to vote on some of these things. If we voted whether to have health care, it would pass by a majority of 80%, at least, I am sure. The other 20% would be people like the congressmen whose insurance WE pay for. Also, WE should get to choose when congress deserves a raise, and enough of this baloney of working only 1/3 of the year with full pay for doing absolutely nothing, the lazy asses. They should be paid for what they accomplish FOR US, not what they do TO US.

        ..

        Reply
        1. idamag March 7, 2015

          How many employers have you had that would let you get paid for full days, while you took half days off to campaign for office? How many would let you work 102 days a year, but still collect your monthly salary. How many employers, did you have, that let you give the business away to special interests? The difference between a prostitute and a legislator? The prostitute is honest. Unlike our taxes to pay their wages, The prostitute isn’t charging all of us.

          Reply
          1. Blueberry Hill March 7, 2015

            Absolutely, the congressmen look down on the prostitutes, and they are more honest than the congressmen. The Tbags/GOP are much worse than prostitutes. They prostitute themselves to the big oil, the Kochs, etc., for money every day, and try to act so holier than thou. They are nothing but high paid scum. The regular worker wouldn’t get away with anything that the congress gets away with. They bring disrespect and dishonor to our government. They need to kick out the Tbaggers before they can even begin to clean up congress and become a functioning GOP again.

            .

            Reply
        2. dpaano March 26, 2015

          Agree 100%….I’m tired of my hard-earned taxpayer money paying for these useless people who sit around and do nothing for the American people!! Why don’t they get their health insurance from the rich corporations that support them since they seem to be doing everything for them and not for us!!! What a waste of our tax money!!!

          Reply
          1. Blueberry Hill March 26, 2015

            These useless POSs have nothing good to offer us. They sit on their butts 2/3 of the year and get paid for the whole year. We also pay their insurance and pensions. They need to get paid by the hour like the rest of us. It would save us a lot of money if we don’t need to pay them while they do nothing but showboat themselves. They have not passed a single good Bill in over 6 years. These useless pieces of crap should be kicked out. To see how stupid the GOPTs are doesn’t show any flattery to the idiots who put them in seats of power they don’t deserve. They know nothing about governing, but then that isn’t their goal. Their goal is to destroy the government they hate and the country and us along with it all. Why do dumbasses vote to put people in our government who hate the government? They are useless from their very start.

            ..

            Reply
  5. idamag March 7, 2015

    It is no different than when the health care was being debated. They kept saying they had a better plan and when it was asked that they bring it forth, they didn’t. They don’t have a plan.

    Reply
    1. Sand_Cat March 27, 2015

      They don’t have a clue.

      Reply
  6. Will Crowther March 8, 2015

    They DO HAVE A PLAN. That plan is to do nothing and let people die. They are the Death Panel !

    Reply
  7. Sand_Cat March 27, 2015

    “Probably” not????!!!! Seriously?
    The best articulation of the GOP health care plan – for the poor and middle class, at least – was by the Florida[?] Democrat who described it as “Don’t get sick,” or, failing that, “die quickly.”

    Reply

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