BREAKING: “Repeal and Replace” Just a Big Scam

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

You should probably be sitting down before you read this. Ready?

Congressional Republicans, who once promised to “repeal and replace” President Obama’s healthcare law, for now have all but given up pushing alternatives to the sweeping legislation the president signed in 2010.

….As the House prepares to take its 33rd vote to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, senior Republicans say they will not try to move a replacement plan until 2013 at the earliest….At the same time, GOP lawmakers are rejecting the notion that any replacement legislation should expand health coverage as much as the current law.

….Republican lawmakers say they have been clear about their broad principles for healthcare, including controlling costs, giving patients more choices and limiting government involvement….But Republican leaders have not brought any of these proposals to a vote.

That has shielded the party’s ideas from close scrutiny by independent analysts, a politically risky process that could highlight legislation’s costs and its impact on consumers and others. Such scrutiny proved embarrassing for House Republicans in 2009, when they proposed a detailed alternative to the healthcare legislation that Democrats were developing at the time.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded the GOP proposal would have left more than 50 million Americans without health insurance and reduced costs for healthy people while raising them for the sick. Similar study of the House Republicans’ 2011 budget plan indicated that a proposal to make Medicare beneficiaries shop for commercial insurance with a government voucher would leave seniors paying thousands of dollars more for their healthcare.

Who could have known that “repeal and replace” was just a scam? It’s shocking. Likewise, who could have known that even the vague Republican guidelines for healthcare reform don’t actually do much of anything to reform healthcare once they’re put into a form concrete enough to score?

But do voters care? I doubt it: this is one of those things that everyone already accepts without ever talking about it. Your average Joe, to the extent he even knows anything about this at all, understands perfectly well that “repeal and replace” is just political schtick, and all that’s going to happen if Republicans win is repeal. For the conservative base, of course, that’s fine. And for the broad middle it’s just something to shrug their shoulders at. Thanks to crappy marketing from Democrats, those folks in the middle probably don’t think Obamacare really benefits them in the first place, and thanks to brilliant marketing from Republicans they probably do think it will raise their taxes. Yay politics!

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate