Two recent events should serve as a warning sign for congressional Republicans to slow down on repealing Obamacare and focus on doing it the right way instead, Newt Gingrich said in a column for The Hill.
Obamacare is failing — everyone outside of partisan Democrats agree on that. So fix the crisis now, work on a long-term solution later, Gingrich argues.
"Republicans must solve the immediate crisis in the individual markets and take time to write a responsible health care bill. Both are possible," Gingrich writes.
"Taking simple steps to stabilize the individual marketplace will give Republicans breathing room to develop a healthcare bill the American people will like. But they need to act fast. The window to stabilize the marketplace for 2018 is closing."
Gingrich points to two recent events that should scare Republicans:
1. The hubris of the conservative party in the U.K. to propose changes on how Brits are taxed in healthcare, used primarily by the elderly. The Labor Party branded the changes a "dementia tax," and the Tories took a beating in Parliament.
"Republicans need only to look overseas to see how the public would respond to an 'age tax' branding," Gingrich writes. "Otherwise, they are likely to fail to pass healthcare reform — or worse, they might pass a bill that is unacceptable to the American people. Either result would bring huge Republican losses in 2018 and further entrench Obamacare."
2. Legislation passed — vetoed by the Republican governor — in Nevada that would have allowed for a public option for healthcare, an "anathema to any Republican," Gingrich writes.
"The situation in Nevada shows that chaos and instability in healthcare does not help the Republican case for free market reform — it undermines it," Gingrich said.
Gingrich says Republicans should heed two key parts of the American Health Care Act — fund the Cost Sharing Reduction program through 2018, and make funds available to states to help offset costs of Americans with acute medical conditions.
In other words, stabilize now, overhaul later.
"This measured, slower approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare may not have been the ideal scenario Republicans imagined in their high spirits after winning the election in November. But given current circumstances, it is the responsible choice of a governing party dedicated to solving problems in the most practical way," Gingrich concludes.
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