Republicans seem to be in a stride to repeal Obamacare, a name that was coined by President Obama’s enemies to more effectively attack the Affordable Care Act. They’ve spent the last 6 years bashing it, lambasting it – along with its enactor – and have promised their base time and time again that if and when they get back to power, they will give the ACA a swift death.
Well, this year the GOP is back in power. Republicans kept both chambers of Congress, and sort of won the presidency. Why the sort of? Because depending on who you ask, President-elect Donald Trump may or may not be a true Republican.
Trump’s party registration alone tells the story. His party registration history has him switching between the Republican and the Democratic Parties a number of times and even registering with the Independence Party and Decline to State at one point.
Luckily for Republicans, the president-elect also campaigned heavily on repealing Obamacare, and has recently called on Congress to repeal it “sometime next week.” GOP lawmakers are happy to oblige as they rush to fulfill the campaign promises they have repeatedly made to their base.
Yet these lawmakers seem to have forgotten that their party is supposed to stand for fiscal responsibility, and have ignored what repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan in place would do to the deficit. Not to mention the expensive tax cuts, heavy military and infrastructure spending, and the “border wall” Trump wants.
Just last week, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took his fellow GOP senators to task for ignoring the country’s debt in their pursuit to eliminate Obamacare. He was the only Republican lawmaker to vote against the budget blueprint proposed by his party.
He asked his Republican colleagues: “What will the first order of business be for the new Republican majority? To pass a budget that never balances, to pass a budget that will add $9.7 trillion in new debt over 10 years?” And driving the point home, “Is that really what the Republican Party represents?”
Contrary to what you may have heard from liberal media outlets, Republicans have actually come up with many alternative plans. The problem? They haven’t coalesced around any of them. What’s good for some Republican lawmakers is too liberal for others, and even after they achieve party unity, they still need to get some Democrats on board.
This didn’t stop Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan last weekend from pushing for a quick repeal, with the former saying that a replacement program could be enacted “very quickly” and the latter claiming that he was confident they would approve a replacement by the end of the year.
So with their mission on hand, the pressure of a quasi-presidential win, and the 6 years of campaign promises, it’s very unlikely that we will have a replacement ready for Obamacare by the time it's repealed.
Will Republicans choose their party values or will they go for the expedited political victory?