Conservatives Endorse Republican Plan B for Health Care

Facing total failure, White House and Senate leaders pursue repeal-and-delay strategy tried in 2015

Plan B on health care looks a lot like the original Plan A from 2015.

With Monday night’s failure of the Senate Republican leadership’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he would offer a bill similar to one that passed both houses of Congress in 2015 to repeal the Affordable Care Act — but delay it from taking effect.

Then-President Barack Obama vetoed that bill, but President Donald Trump would be expected to sign it.

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McConnell said lawmakers always knew that reaching consensus on a replacement plan would not be easy.

“But we knew that it was the right thing to do, so we pushed forward anyway,” he said. “I believe that we must continue to push forward now.”

Under the plan McConnell outlined, the Senate would vote on a bill that would repeal the law but delay its implementation for two years to give Congress more time to negotiate something new.

“Everyone knows about Obamacare’s skyrocketing costs and its plummeting choices,” he said. “Too often, however, this discussion seems to veer into the abstract. These are not just numbers on a page. These are the lives of real people.”

The plan drew an immediate endorsement from grass-roots conservatives.

“That’s what we’ve saying since the American Health Care Act that was introduced in the House,” FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye told LifeZette. “That has been our position for months now.”

Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America, noted in a statement that Republicans have pledged for seven years to repeal Obamacare. Nearly every Republican in Congress voted for the 2015 repeal bill.

“They are on record supporting that bill,” Needham stated. “To be clear though, even if that partial repeal is adopted by Senate Republicans, it will mark just the first step in a long process toward unraveling the damage caused by Obamacare. As Heritage Action cautioned last year, that bill ‘did not repeal the costly insurance rules, regulations, and mandates on plan offerings that have contributed to premiums skyrocketing, health care costs rising, and insurance plans being canceled.’ The faltering Senate bill made significant progress on that front.”

The adjustment is necessary because Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) came out against the Better Care Reconciliation Act Monday night, dooming it.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gloated on Monday and claimed Republicans had “locked Democrats out” of the process.

“The challenge I see, though, is that Democrats have not been interested in working on this.”

“It should be crystal clear to everyone on the other side of the aisle that the core of the bill is unworkable. It’s time to move on,” he said on the Senate floor. “It’s time to start over. Rather than repeating the same failed partisan process yet again, Republicans should work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets, and improves our health care system.”

But House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that Democrats have shown no willingness to address Obamacare’s flaws.

“The challenge I see, though, is that Democrats have not been interested in working on this,” he said. “They don’t want to get us off the Obamacare train. They want to double down on a failed system that is in the middle of a collapse.”

Ryan said that almost 40 percent of counties will have no choice in the government-run health exchanges next year. Dozens of counties will have no insurance carrier at all. (go to page 2 to continue reading)[lz_pagination]

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PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected].