Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Obamacare Repeal Game a Disgrace

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Obamacare Repeal Game a Disgrace

Article excerpt

The Republican majority in Congress has voted to kill the Affordable Care Act dozens of times. It's done this knowing that President Barack Obama would veto the bill, thus sparing members from the consequences. So obviously, it was always a game. It was posturing before a public that largely didn't know what Obamacare did for them.

Still, Republicans could have thrown the American people a crumb of respect by saying, "When the day comes, this is what we're going to replace it with." Or, "There's no replacement. We're just going back to the world before Obamacare."

Either response would have been honest. Republicans would have put their cards on the table, exposing their ideas to scrutiny. And importantly, they would have let patients, doctors, hospitals and insurers know what was up and plan for the future.

But that would have ended their game - which has been politics, not governing. Politics is telling people they can get what they want without paying for it. Governing is specifying where the money will come from. Governing, in short, requires work, much of it unpleasant.

In a matter of days, Donald Trump takes over the presidency. He's demanded a repeal of Obamacare on "day one" of his administration. Congressional Republicans still don't have a replacement, so they've designed a new game called "Repeal and Delay."

This game operates under the dubious assumption that you can vote to repeal Obamacare but leave the benefits in place while you come up with a new plan. Or not. Many Republicans back passing a budget bill that strips Obamacare of funding, at which point it all would be over. Some are having second thoughts. Who knows what they'll do.

The uncertainly, meanwhile, is traumatizing the health care system. Insurers are being jolted by a possible meltdown of their markets. Doctors happily adjusted to Obamacare are rattled, while hospitals are already laying off people as a precaution. …

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