Tags: gop | split | obamacare | repeal

GOP's Split on Healthcare Could Harm Its Legislative Agenda

GOP's Split on Healthcare Could Harm Its Legislative Agenda
(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 January 2018 09:43 AM

The Republican leadership does not have a solution for repealing and replacing Obamacare, but it does not have a way to ignore the issue either after making it a central campaign pledge for so many years, Politico reported on Tuesday.

The fact that the GOP is divided over healthcare reform could derail the party's legislative agenda, which could prove disastrous with the midterm elections only eight months away.

Republican leaders do not want a repeat of last year's fiasco when they spent precious time on a failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, but they also don't want to officially take repeal off the table, which could cause a conservative backlash among those who remain determined to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

Although President Donald Trump has declared Obamacare "over," insisting that getting rid of the individual mandates in the GOP tax law means the health law is basically repealed, the reality is that a crippled Obamacare could continue limping along, especially since it was bolstered by the strong enrollment for the coming year.

Obamacare showed its resilience as a surprisingly high 8.8 million people signed up under the law last year, just short of the 9.2 million who did so in 2016, according to The Hill.

Trump has been unclear of exactly he wants from a GOP divided on the issue, according to Politico. He recently spoke favorably about a bill that would completely dismantle Obamacare and turn it into state block grants, as well as a seemingly contradictory measure that would shore up the Obamacare markets by restoring subsidies that the president personally halted.

At this stage, it does not appear Republicans have the vote for either alternative.

An indication of just how precarious the situation is for Republicans is that just last month the House blocked a Senate-led effort to fund for two years Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies, which help low-income people pay out-of-pocket medical bills.

That sharp division among Republicans could reappear very soon as moderates in the GOP want to try again this month to fund those subsides and insist that Trump has encouraged them to do so.

But any such efforts are sure to hit fierce conservative wrath, as North Dakota Congressman told Politico that many in the House don't want to give insurance companies "bailout" money and would also insist that any such measure would add abortion restrictions, which would cause problems among moderates.

The other option also does not appear so promising. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who says the GOP cannot avoid the obligation to replace Obamacare after crippling it with the repeal of the mandate in the tax law, is pressing to pass the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which would get rid much of Obamacare and block-grant smaller sums to the states.

But that measure was shelved in September for lack of enough support, and the GOP will now have one less vote in the Senate after losing the special election in Alabama, making its passage even more of an uphill climb.

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Politics
The Republican leadership does not have a solution for repealing and replacing Obamacare, but it does not have a way to ignore the issue either after making it a central campaign pledge for so many years, Politico reported on Tuesday.
gop, split, obamacare, repeal
497
2018-43-02
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 09:43 AM
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