The notion is 'absurd': Republicans have stopped trying to repeal Obamacare -- here's why

Even if Republicans retake the House and Senate in the upcoming midterms there is little to no chance that the GOP will try to repeal and replace Obamacare.

That's according to John E. McDonough, a professor of practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, writing in Politico. The only prominent Republican who publicly has floated the idea of doing away with Obamacare is Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, although even he backtracked on the idea just days after making the proposition on a Breitbart radio show.

In response to Johnson's comments, Maine Sen. Susan Collins told the Washington Post, “The Affordable Care Act is now embedded in our health care system,” she said. “There are many improvements that can be made, but I do not foresee Congress repealing it altogether even if [Republicans] take control of Congress.”

McDonough writes: "My conversations with analysts, activists, and observers showed zero appetite to take on ACA repeal again." She was one of the three Republicans who voted against the unsuccessful 2017 ACA repeal effort, which featured the now infamous "thumbs down" by the late Arizona Sen. John McCain. Most recently, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told the audience at a town hall meeting, “I’m saying I would not” vote to repeal the ACA.

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Dean Clancy of the libertarian Americans for Prosperity grassroots organization told McDonough: “Obamacare is here to stay, but we believe the law needs major improvements to deliver more personalized care for patients. We’ve had success in partially repealing controversial parts.” Among the successes he and other conservatives point to include zeroing out the ACA’s Individual Mandate penalty in late 2017, repealing the Cadillac Tax on high cost health insurance policies, eliminating the Medical Device Tax and repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Ramesh Ponnuru, editor of the National Review, thinks that getting rid of those provisions has quelled the GOP's appetite for ACA repeal. “The most disliked sections that had motivated support for repeal have all been eliminated. The politics of Obamacare changed with the removal of those major pain points.”

Respected health policy expert Gail Wilensky of Project HOPE says that “the notion of repealing the ACA in 2022 is absurd. If people want to change the coverage aspects, they have to have something in mind to replace it. Otherwise, you can’t do it.” Even conservative guru John Goodman, the father of the Health Savings Account, told McDonough, “Repeal is off the table" and Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute said: “Repeal and Replace will never be spoken of again by an intelligent pol. If 2017 didn’t kill it, then nothing else could.”