Is The ACA Repeal Dead? Key Republicans Begin Walking Back Their Language

The chairmen of the Health Committee, Representative Lamar Alexander, shocked some of his colleagues when he claimed that the repeal that some of them are hoping for would not be possible:

“We’re not repealing all of Obamacare, it’s not technically possible to do that (now) in the procedures that we have in the Senate, and secondly, there are some parts of it we want to keep.”

That was bad news for some Republicans who are still pushing for a quick and total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. These lawmakers cite the 2016 vote as a sort of mandate to repeal in full. But most don’t see it that way. Trump ran on a number of issues and didn’t even win a majority of the popular vote.

A number of the law’s staunchest opponents have already admitted that to repeal it without any kind of similar system to replace it could lead to mass chaos. This is what seems to be holding up Congressional Republicans, despite having walked away from the last election with the White House and both houses of Congress. Republicans, for the most part, want to repeal the 2010 law, but none of them are willing to be the one standing there when everything falls to pieces.

Insurance companies also seem to have accepted that the repeal isn’t likely to happen the way it was originally billed. Wednesday, three of the largest insurance companies urged lawmakers to come up with their finalized plan in the next month so that there would be enough time to make decisions regarding the 2018 marketplace. So, it seems there will likely be a 2018 insurance marketplace.

Meanwhile, President Trump has his hands full and has barely mentioned the ACA since taking office. Except to say that everyone would be insured under the new Republican plan. Many saw this statement as the real death of the repeal effort, since any reduction in coverage might now be seen as a failure rather than a necessary evil.

The future for this band of repealers will be a very shaky one.  Since even more of the same limited success of Obamacare may not be enough to make their own voters happy. After all, these voters have been told for nearly a decade now that the program was intentionally flawed and designed to fail. Now they have to design something better, which may mean doing some of the opposite things they did during the Obama years to intentionally disrupt the insurance plan.

Featured Image via Mark Wilson/Getty

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