Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said at CPAC that Republicans have no interest in putting together even a stopgap measure for Americans who might have to give up their health insurance if the Supreme Court strikes down the tax subsidies. Republicans also have no interest in trying to put together a replacement for the ACA, because they believe that nothing they could come up with is anything Obama would sign. The attitude there, according to Barrasso’s speech, is “Why even bother?”
The Huffington Post reports that Barrasso basically told us what GOP’s preferred strategy is when he said:
You can imagine if a Supreme Court rules against the president … he is going to completely attack. He’s going to call it a partisan court. And then he’s going to say I have a simple one-page bill as the solution. Just make everything I’ve done, make it legal. And we are not prepared to do that.
In other words, they’ll blame Obama, saying that he’s given them no reason to trust that he’ll act in good faith. For that reason, it would be a waste of time, effort, and taxpayer dollars (because voting to repeal the ACA more than 50 times isn’t), to try and come up with something to help all those people. They’ll say, more or less, “Too bad, so sad, American people. It’s neither our fault, nor our responsibility.”
According to The Hill, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Fred Upton (R-MI) and Richard Burr (R-NC) put forth an alternative plan earlier this month. Their plan would repeal all the mandates that require individuals and businesses to have health insurance, while keeping the tax credits that help low-income individuals buy insurance in place. People who’ve already qualified for Medicaid would receive credits to help them buy private plans.
Hatch has also said that he’s prepared to offer a short-term fix so people could keep their insurance without disruption, while Congress works on a permanent replacement.
However, The Hill reports that Republicans still haven’t actually come together under any plan. There are several other ideas out there, too, which has been the case since they started screaming to repeal the ACA several years ago.
Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that described what such a plan might look like. He called it the “freedom option.” That would allow anybody to opt out of the ACA if they so wished. Including businesses.
As The Huffington Post points out in their analysis of Gramm’s plan (which he doesn’t really explain), such an option would allow health insurance to slowly go back to what it was before the ACA was even in place. This is popular for Republicans because of the profit gods they worship above all else.
They’ve had five years to work on something, and when they took over the Senate, it was the perfect time to unveil their master plan and see what the public thought. Instead, they’ve had fragmented talk, disagreement about what to do, or whether to even do anything, and they’ve shown that they don’t especially care what happens to Americans if the tax subsidies are struck down.
This is what the GOP does. Their message of, “It’s the Democrats’ and Obama’s fault!” hasn’t resonated before, so it’s hard to understand why they think it’ll work now, when they’re in charge of Congress. They’d have a chance if they’d actually been working towards something this whole time, but instead, they’ve been wasting taxpayer dollars voting on repeal after repeal, and not coming together on any alternative.
Barrasso’s speech at CPAC gave us the glimpse we need to understand their strategy: Do nothing, and then blame Obama and the Democrats for the fallout. That’s the only plan they actually have.
Featured image by Rika Christensen/Liberalistics