House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on “60 Minutes” to talk about various Republican ideas and plans. When host Scott Pelley pressed them for a Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they both fell flat on their faces. They talked about what they hate about the program, but, as is typical of the GOP, they couldn’t talk about what they would do instead.
Boehner went first, saying that what Americans didn’t need was a Washington takeover of the healthcare system. He even speculated that Washington has hired tens of thousands of people for both the IRS and Department of Health and Human Services just to manage the thing (information on just how many people were hired at both the IRS and HHS for the ACA is hard to come by, however, a Reuters analysis found that the states hired tens of thousands of their own people to handle their end of things). Boehner said it’s time to look at this differently.
But when Pelley asked Boehner, again, what the Republican alternative to the ACA was, Boehner went lame, saying:
We’re working on this, having discussions amongst our members, we got a lot of divergent views about how best to go back to a doctor-patient relationship that’s revered. About rewarding medical professionals, as opposed to all those rules that are coming down and frankly, driving doctors out of the system.
Seriously? That’s it? It’s clear Boehner still can’t answer that question. When Pelley told Boehner and McConnell that one of the biggest criticisms of the GOP is that they’re fully capable of saying what they’re against, but not what they’re for, McConnell jumped in with:
Scott, with all due respect to you, you mischaracterize the likelihood of success with Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office doesn’t work for Republicans or Democrats, run by a former Clinton staffer, said that best case scenario, Obamacare reduces the number of uninsured from 40 million to 30 million…And in the end, doesn’t get everybody covered in the first place. Now, that is not my view of how to improve the American healthcare delivery system. If we had the ability to do it, we ought to pull it out, root and branch, and start over.
In other words, Pelley nailed it when he said, point-blank, “You don’t have an alternative.” Because they don’t. Their “repeal and replace” mantra is missing one huge, important part: The replacement plan! All Boehner could do is ask why the states can’t run their own exchanges (Washington tried that, many states refused), and why we wouldn’t allow people to buy insurance across state lines.
Boehner also just had to trot out malpractice insurance as one of the major drivers of overpriced healthcare. The truth is that some states have already enacted the tort reform Republicans want, but, for instance, in Texas, their 2003 tort reform law failed to bring costs down, according to the Statesman. It even failed to slow down rising costs.
These are ideas, but Republicans can’t seem to put them together into a single, cohesive plan, present it to the American people, and explain what it will do. All Republicans have are disjointed statements, with little supporting evidence, that make no sense on their own, and could make even less sense when put into a real plan. Boehner and McConnell proved that Republicans can’t replace the ACA, because all they can do is say what they stand against.
Watch the whole video here:
H/T Politicus USA | Featured image via screen capture from CBS video