Dithering over Obamacare repeal

  • 2 February 2017
  • NormanL
Dithering over Obamacare repeal

Repealing Obamacare has been a staple of GOP stump speeches since 2010. It paid political dividends for the party, seeing it take control of both congressional chambers, and now, the presidency.

But with all the political levers now in their hands, and excuses for inaction running thin, congressional Republicans are stumbling over just how to fulfill that hoary campaign promise:

Conservatives have voiced frustrations about the slow pace of repeal, aiming to get rid of the law as soon as possible and figure out a replacement later, if at all.

“I’m out there saying repeal and no replace -- that’s as pretty strong as it gets,” Representative Roger Williams, a Texas Republican, said in an interview. He said he believes things should “just go back the way they were” before Obamacare.

Repeal isn’t off the table for lawmakers embracing repair either. They just want to fix the parts they can first.

“You have to know what you’re going to replace it with, before you have an effective repeal,” [Sen. Lamar] Alexander said at the end of his committee’s hearing on the individual insurance market.

“We’re more interested in the future and identifying what needs to be done to give people more affordable choices of insurance,” he added. “No one’s talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to offer Americans in its place.”

We get it: having a replacement plan is important. Some ideas have been floated as possible replacements. But Republicans are in no position to dither over where to start, let alone the branding (yes, they are now talking "repair" rather than repeal).

The GOP has a finite amount of political capital. They will need to spend it on many different issues. We would think, however, that attending to their long standing promise to repeal (not "fix" or "repair") Obamacare would be the top priority.