GOP Health Care Plan Takes Pages from the Obamacare Playbook

You would think that if the Supreme Court throws out Obamacare in June, the GOP will do nothing but gloat. After all, Mitt Romney said the first thing he would do as president would be to sign an executive order to “repeal Obamacare.” Newt Gingrich said that instead of extending dependents’ coverage to age 26, we should elect Republicans so that dependents would get jobs quickly and have coverage of their own. But, guess what? According to Politco reporters Jake Sherman and Jennifer Haberkorn, if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, the GOP will still bring some of it back. Believe it or not, the GOP thinks that voters actually like parts of the law, even the extension of dependent eligibility that Gingrich ridiculed.

Actually, the GOP has a two-pronged strategy. Should the Court uphold Obamacare, the GOP will attempt to repeal its more controversial aspects: individual coverage mandates and requirements that employers provide coverage. Then, the GOP will attempt to retain portions of the law, such as protections against denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, (“filling the doughnut hole,”) and the aforementioned extended dependent coverage. In other words, we’d be doing the legislative dance again just to regain protection that we already thought was ours. This whole discussion just injects more uncertainty and doubt into the health care debate; ironic as the GOP constantly accuses the Democrats of causing uncertainty and doubt in the country.

Compare the uncertainties the Republicans would re-impose on the health care debate, with the relative order of Obamacare by checking out the Affordable Care Act website. The site includes a timeline showing how far we’ve come in the law’s implementation, including a state-by-state display. Like it or not, there is at least a plan for changing our health care system that has already cleared the legislative obstacles Republicans would have to overcome all over again. Combine the divisions within the party, the far from veto-proof Congress, and the unknown outcome of the presidential race, and you get a legislative climate that makes a timetable for implementing GOP health care legislation difficult to forecast.

I’m sure that Obamacare will show flaws over time, any large undertaking does, however it is still a project in development. All we see now is the price tag; we have yet to see the financial savings that will surely reduce the cost of emergency room care. So I keep a hopeful, open mind. Before you vote this November, do yourself the favor of learning more about the law and how it already has affected you. You might be pleasantly surprised. And at the very least, you’ll be informed.