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Trump Admits Republicans Have No Plan To ‘Replace’ Obamacare

Trump is still obsessed with trying to undo Obamacare and take health care from millions of Americans, but on Monday he admitted that he and his fellow Republicans still don’t have a replacement plan — and they won’t until after next year’s election.

“Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare,” he tweeted Monday night, add that Republicans won’t be voting on it until “right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

That’s a far different claim than what Trump was saying just a week ago, when he insisted a group of Republican senators were hard at work crafting a magical new health care plan that will be “really spectacular.”

That was a lie. The Washington Post reported no Republicans in Congress have a health care plan, nor is there anything in the works. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told the Post flatly that there are no plans or efforts to draft any such plan. A White House official told the Post that there wasn’t a specific proposal from the White House, either.

But now Trump is admitting that Republicans aren’t even going to bother with an Obamacare replacement for more than a year. That means if Trump’s latest attempt to strike down Obamacare in its entirety succeeds, 20 million people could lose their health insurance and millions more with pre-existing conditions could be at risk of sharply higher health care costs — while Trump and GOP wait to see how next year’s election turns out for them.

Only if Republicans win back the House, which they might not do, will they even bother trying to clean up the mess Trump wants to make right now.

After an outcry over protections for pre-existing conditions from voters during last year’s election cycle, Trump began swearing that he vowed to keep them. And he’s still doing that now. But none of the prior plans from Trump and the GOP do that.

Those plans saw Republicans attempting to increase health care premiums, rip health care away from tens of millions of families, and take away protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Republicans have promoted these ideas time and again, even as voters have a different solution in mind. The majority of voters prefer to work with the current system, and even Republicans who were polled would rather fix the system than destroy it.

Republicans have threatened, for nearly a decade, to repeal and replace Obamacare. Under Trump, they have tried and failed to do it. Now Trump is fighting in the courts to repeal Obamacare while he worries about replacing it later, but only if he and his party win in 2020. And if they don’t? The millions of Americans who’ve lost their care will be out of luck, but it won’t be Trump’s problem to fix.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

How Democrats Can Hold GOP Accountable For Healthcare Fix

IMAGE: Flickr

A Year Consumed By Obamacare Fight, With More To Come

WASHINGTON — As the end of 2013 approaches, seldom has a domestic issue so dominated the political center stage as Obamacare did this year. The president’s health care insurance law has ridden a policy rollercoaster and will still have a huge question mark hanging over it in 2014.

From the very start of Obama’s presidency, the Republicans in Congress took dead aim at what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama was able to get it enacted only with solid Democratic support in 2010, while his party was still in control of both the House and Senate.

Thereafter, the Republicans looked to the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional, but were surprised and disappointed when Chief Justice John Roberts led a 5-4 decision upholding it. After recovering from that blow, Republicans set out to “repeal and replace” the law, which they hoped to stigmatize by attaching the president’s name to it, with considerable success.

In 2012, Obamacare became a battle cry in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, despite the fact that the health care law he enacted as governor of Massachusetts was a model for it. That reality made Romney a poor pitchman against the federal version, and Obama was re-elected. He seemed home free on the single most significant and hard-won legislative victory of his first term.

Still the Republican opposition continued, with party orators from the noisy Tea Party wing leading the fight against the law. But the naysayers miscalculated this year in allowing the 16-day government shutdown over the budget. Polls consistently blamed the Republicans, and Obama appeared to be coasting toward the new year with the wind at his back.

But then, like some ghost out of the political past, Obamcare came rushing back as an issue with its calamitous rollout failure, fanning new life into the opposition.

All through the president’s successful re-election campaign and thereafter, he had been busy touting the act’s benefits and castigating its opponents as bearers of inaccurate information about how the law would work. Suddenly, the tables were turned on him as he was caught overselling parts of it. His oft-quoted line — that if you liked the insurance plan you had, you could keep it — backfired on him. Insured Americans started receiving cancelation notices from insurers whose plans did not meet ACA standards.

Obama found himself scrambling to assure them that they could qualify for better coverage at less cost, a claim that he was hard-pressed to justify. Obamacare foes were thrown a lifeline with which to resurrect their opposition.

As a result, as the president approaches his last three years in office, more of his own political energies are being required to get Obamacare back on track, by cobbling together a more workable registration website and a renewed and revamped sales pitch on the details of the law.

As for the Republicans, fearful before the rollout fiasco that their ill-conceived role in the government shutdown would cost them votes in next November’s congressional elections, instead are looking optimistically toward them. The chances are good that the midterm voting will be seen as a referendum on Obamacare, obliging the Democrats to fight all over again the battle they thought they had won in Obama’s re-election.

If so, the president’s year-end objectives of reviving such stalled legislative initiatives as immigration reform and tougher background checks on gun purchasing may have to give way. Much, to be sure, will ride on the public response to the efforts to re-sell Obamacare in this suddenly more uncertain climate.

Optimistic Democrats cite similar early glitches in the introduction of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid before they were widely embraced and lauded by recipients. But none encountered the storm stirred up so far by the law that bears this beleaguered president’s name.

Those programs, regarded the heart of the social safety net, have been a magnet for Democratic support from poor and middle-class voters. So it’s not so surprising that Obamacare has become such a fierce partisan political battleground for so long.

Jules Witcover’s latest book is Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption (William Morrow). You can respond to this column at juleswitcover@comcast.net

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski