Republicans have not settled on a replacement plan for Obamacare and have yet to start seriously working on one according to a GOP senator. The promise to repeal and replace the unpopular health law was a major cornerstone of the Republican platform in last year’s election.
“To be honest, there’s not any real discussion taking place right now,” Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
When asked when he thought Republicans would start seriously working on an alternative to Obamacare, Corker said, “I have no idea. I’m not on a committee that deals with this ... but I don’t see any congealing around ideas yet. And I think it’s fine that we take our time. I thought the The Wall Street Journal editorial today was dead on. I mean, we’re dealing with something that is very important, very complicated. It’s explosive if not handled properly, and we should take our time and do it right.”
Coming three months after the election, it is a bit disconcerting to hear that Republicans in Congress have not even started working on a replacement bill. After years of Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums, rising deductibles and shrinking networks, Americans are impatient to fix the health insurance problem. While it’s understandable that there was no plan in November because no one thought the Republicans would take control of the federal government, it is not unreasonable to expect that a plan should be coming together after a quarter of a year has passed.
The lack of a plan seems to be more a result of Republican disorganization than a lack of commitment to repeal. Republicans disagree over whether a replacement plan is even necessary as soon as Obamacare is repealed. Some, such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), feel that a replacement could come after the repeal has passed. Others, such as President Trump, argue that repeal and replacement should occur simultaneously.
In fact, some Republicans have presented replacement plans already, but the plans differ in details and none has the full support of the party. The author of one such plan was Rep. Tom Price (D-Ga.), who has been nominated by President Trump as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. The process of crafting a replacement bill may speed up after Price’s confirmation.
President Trump campaigned on an immediate repeal of Obamacare, but recently downplayed expectations of swift movement on the health care law. “Obamacare doesn’t work. So we are putting in a wonderful plan. It’s statutorily … takes a while to get. We’re going to be putting it in fairly soon,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly in an interview last weekend. “I think that yes, I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”
The president’s comment that the Obamacare repeal process might extend into 2018 were overshadowed by his defense of Vladimir Putin in the same interview.
Although Republicans appear to remain committed to repeal of Obamacare, but they are no longer committed to doing it quickly. That may come as a shock to Republican voters who voted for a fast change.
Originally published on The Resurgent