As much as they’ve talked about repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) over the past six years, Republicans have seldom offered specifics about what exactly they would replace it with.
Even though House Republicans have voted scores of times to repeal the PPACA, they have never actually crafted and introduced a proposed law to implement in its stead.
But U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, the Texas Republican who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is telling voters to be patient. Republican members of Congress will have a viable alternative ready in less than two months, he promised Friday.
Speaker Paul Ryan has been vocal about the need for the GOP to be a party that proposes solutions, rather than simply opposes those offered by Democrats.
Ryan took a small step to that end last week, when he argued that insurers should not be forced to sell coverage to those with costly preexisting conditions, who he said should instead receive subsidized (but more expensive) coverage through state administered high-risk pools.
“You dramatically lower the price for everybody else,” he said. “You make health insurance so much more affordable, so much more competitive and open up competition.”
Although repealing Obamacare was the cause célébré of the GOP in the first three election cycles following the PPACA’s passage, the law has been largely overshadowed in the 2016 cycle because of the rise of Donald Trump, who despite insisting that he opposes the PPACA, has a history of expressing support for left leaning health care policy. Other issues, namely immigration and terrorism, have dominated the debate among Republican presidential candidates.
Republicans pondering an alternative to Obamacare are also confronting the reality that any dramatic change will likely involve disrupting the system that millions of Americans are currently benefiting from. The many who have gained free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or subsidized coverage through the marketplace are likely to be far more committed to supporting pro-PPACA politicians than they were in the years before the law was implemented.