Sure, Republicans ran on repealing ObamaCare but it turns out that didn’t really mean repealing ObamaCare. Not all of it. Not the parts that would get really noticed in an election year.
Now some Republicans (especially endangered incumbents facing a tough 2016 election) want a take-back. They don’t want to repeal the expansion of Medicaid. Everything else can go, but not the Medicaid expansion.
The Hill reported:
Senate GOP leaders have told their members they will repeal as much of the 2010 healthcare reform law as possible, but some Republicans are balking at a proposal to repeal the expansion of Medicaid.
“I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia.
Thirty states have accepted the option to expand their Medicaid rolls under ObamaCare, extending the coverage to millions of people.
Many of the states that accepted the expansion are led by Republicans governors — such as John Kasich in Ohio — and some Senate Republicans are reluctant to countermand them.
So Republicans are a bit of a hot mess with presidential candidates like Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) wanting to tear down the whole thing while others want to only repeal parts that won’t hurt them politically.
Or so they think. Some Republicans want to include repealing Planned Parenthood in the reconciliation process. Politico reported:
The Senate parliamentarian ruled Tuesday afternoon that some provisions of a GOP bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood did not survive the so-called Byrd rule, which governs when the powerful procedural tool known as reconciliation can be used. But top GOP Senate aides also noted the parliamentarian ruled that the bill was “privileged,” meaning it can avoid a filibuster. Republicans also maintained that the problem could be resolved relatively easily on the floor with a substitute amendment.
But a provision defunding Planned Parenthood — a measure that could give heartburn to moderates who don’t support stripping funding from the women’s health group — could be included in the reconciliation bill, according to the parliamentarian’s ruling.
The ObamaCare law is very long, as you’ve heard from Republicans for years. So long that they never got around to reading it, supposedly. Not even their aides who are paid to read legislation. So maybe they don’t realize it, but it’s pretty complex and stealing from Peter is going to impact Paul. Frankly it’s frightening to think of what Republicans would make law, since this is all political theater and not about good policy.
The good news here is that even as they argue about how to avoid a filibuster and can they get rid of the individual mandates and how about forcing the working poor off of Medicaid, it’s all nothing but theater.
Some Republicans think Obama would sign their repeal if they water it down, but the President isn’t going to sign anything that doesn’t make ObamaCare stronger and better. He certainly wouldn’t allow a repeal of the Medicaid expansion, which has helped millions of Americans get coverage.
The Medicaid expansion helps the working poor. Republicans in swing states realize that taking affordable healthcare away from the working poor isn’t good business.
It used to be that ObamaCare was the one thing an increasingly fractured Republican Party could reliably agree on. But not so much anymore now that political reality has set in, just like we always said it would. People will usually place their personal health above a political ideology. So said Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It will be devastating for national elections if Republicans try to throw the working poor off of Medicaid, but that seems like their plan, in addition to trying to defund healthcare for poor women. Not great optics for anyone except red state Republicans.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.