What’s the future of Obamacare? Republicans have no plan to replace Obamacare
The future of Obamacare? Probably the same as its past: A bit of a mess. But here's what we do know: Congress can't muster enough votes to fully strike the law down; Republicans simply don't have a veto-proof majority. Those conservatives who thi...
The future of Obamacare? Probably the same as its past: A bit of a mess.
But here’s what we do know: Congress can’t muster enough votes to fully strike the law down; Republicans simply don’t have a veto-proof majority. Those conservatives who think they can get the president to agree to demolish his signature legislative achievement if they just apply enough pressure are, frankly, kidding themselves. He’s got a legacy to consider, after all, and attempting to extend health coverage to millions of uninsured people - even in the face of intense political opposition - probably will be better regarded by both historians and voters than meekly giving up on the project years later.
It’ll be fun to watch the GOP try, however. For years, Republicans have said their goal is to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. The dirty secret? Outside of a couple of reports gathering dust somewhere in a think tank’s filing cabinet, Republicans have no plan at all to replace Obamacare. Zip. Zero. Nada. (Then again: Obamacare started as a dusty report in a conservative think tank’s filing cabinet. So you never know.)
The other dirty secret: There are plenty of provisions in Obamacare that Republicans kind of like, too. Repeal Obamacare, and suddenly insurance companies can deny coverage on the basis of a patient’s history. Repeal Obamacare, and young twentysomethings will be expelled from their parents’ insurance policies. Repeal Obamacare, and a whole bunch of cost-
control measures go with it. There’s a reason GOP leadership is hesitant to actually fight this fight.
Of course, the Supreme Court might do the job for them, by gutting subsidies for state-level insurance exchanges. Of course, if the court does rule that way, more than 4 million people will see their insurance costs rise dramatically and suddenly, and more than a few of them will give up insurance altogether.
“Success” on Republican terms means a lot of people get hurt.
The law isn’t perfect: Its implementation has been frustrating and embarrassing for liberals. But it’s still better and more helpful to more Americans than anything Republicans seriously propose to do. Maybe they’ll succeed in striking it down. They probably won’t be happy with the results.
Joel Mathis ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Visit Mathis and Ben Boychuk on Facebook: facebook.com/benandjoel.