A secret recording obtained by the Washington Post reveals the GOP is freaking out about its Obamacare repeal. Republicans have spent the last years boasting of repealing former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and with Donald Trump now in the White House, that goal seemed promising for Republicans — except they haven’t decided on a replacement.
The recording of a closed-door meeting on Thursday revealed GOP lawmakers’ concern about moving forward with a quick repeal. “We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created [with repeal],” said California Rep. Tom McClintock. “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.”
While Trump insisted along the campaign trail that he would both repeal and replace the healthcare plan, the GOP has yet to craft a single plan that could effectively replace the ACA. Earlier this month, the then-president-elect promised to replace Obamacare “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”
There appears to be no consensus on a replacement plan, as of Trump’s Thursday visit to Philadelphia for the GOP’s three-day retreat. “We don’t want to set arbitrary deadlines on things,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to Kaiser Health News. “We want to move quickly, but we want to get things right.”
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, added that “There’s no single fix. There’s no single plan” with which to replace Obamacare.
A Congressional Budget Office analysis published earlier this month found that a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act could be a disaster for millions of Americans, especially without a serious replacement plan in the works.
The report found that with the repeal, nearly 18 million people could be at risk of losing their insurance within a year, noting also that individual insurance premiums would skyrocket.
Similarly, the CBO reported that if there was no replacement plan to follow the Obamacare repeal, the number of uninsured Americans could jump to 32 million people by the year 2026.
The urgency to craft a replacement plan is not lost on all Republicans. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said earlier this week, “If we do not start putting specific legislation on the table that can be debated, refined, amended and enacted, then we will fail the American people.”
“We have to take care of the American people immediately, so we can’t wait,” President Trump told the Congressional members at the retreat. There appears to be no path forward at this time, even though Republicans have several plans in the works. They just haven’t agreed on one.
“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,” New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur said of those covered by state and federal programs, as well as those covered under Medicaid.