Bloomberg is reporting this morning that congressional Republicans will begin working to repeal Obamacare before Donald Trump is even inaugurated, with the Senate beginning to lay the groundwork in early January.
There has been speculation in recent weeks that without something to replace Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, the GOP would be setting themselves (and the nation) up for calamity. Many commentators had therefore reached the conclusion that they would slow pedal their promise to repeal.
The opposite appears to be true. According to Bloomberg, “The first major act of the unified Republican government in 2017 will be a vote in Congress to begin tearing down Obamacare.” Realizing, however, that the blowback could be harsh, they’ll simply pretend they had nothing to do with it:
To cushion the political blow of upending the system, party leaders are putting out a stream of statements portraying Obamacare as collapsing on its own.
Meanwhile, Obamacare enrollments have been setting records in the waning months of 2016, with the “Department of Health and Human Services report[ing] that signups reached 6.4 million by the Dec. 19 deadline, an increase of 400,000 over the previous year’s number at this time.”
Moreover, Republicans are considering punting on a replacement all together until after the 2020 elections.
Republicans are debating 3-yr or 2-yr ACA repeal delay. There's also talk of a FOUR-yr delay to avoid 2020 election. https://t.co/GG6tIqBUGG
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) December 29, 2016
News of Republicans’ plans to begin repeal immediately comes just a day after the Congressional Budget Office got involved, “issuing a fierce warning to Republicans in the form of …a sternly worded blog post.” The nonpartisan budget analyzing agency, which would score any replacement proposals, essentially told Republicans that they won’t play games, saying they “won’t let Republicans count especially skimpy coverage as health insurance.”
VOX explains why this matters:
This is important, because in principle you could provide insurance coverage to everyone while spending practically nothing if you were willing to make the insurance totally worthless. Imagine a government program offering everyone a government-run insurance plan with a $1 million deductible, 85 percent copays, and no coverage of preventative care. You could say that’s a health insurance plan — just a really terrible one.
In short, Republicans haven’t solved any of the problems that made Obamacare repeal look like a disaster, but they’ve decided they’ll go ahead and do it anyway, letting the chips fall where they may. In this case, that will include kicking approximately 24 million non-seniors off insurance within the next ten years.
And then they’ll simply do the only thing they know how to do anymore: blame Obama.
(Featured image via Getty Images)