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To replace or not to replace. Senate Republicans really don't seem to have any better of a clue than their House colleagues about what to do on health care reform. Both House and Senate Republicans have hinted that they're all for the stuff in the Affordable Care Act that people really like. But the groups who call the shots and can make their lives really miserable will hear none of it. Nonetheless, some Senate Republicans are sticking their necks out, a little.
A GOP health aide explained the strategy on the shift: “Come up with a plan and come up with a plan quick to deal with popular … provisions. An interesting twist will be money spent and continued implementation. There could be a deal struck on those two issues as well.” The aide said Democrats would have a hard time turning down a Republican proposal to reinstate some of the law’s most popular pieces.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), asked by TPM if he believes his party should back the pre-existing conditions and under-26 laws, didn’t endorse specifics but affirmed that his party ought to have a plan ready. “Well, I think we need to be prepared,” he said. “And we will be prepared.”

The shift is notable because Republicans have spent more than two years pledging nothing less than total repeal of the law. That has conscripted them into disavowing all of its elements, implicitly or explicitly, even though core pillars of the law had significant support within the GOP before Obama embraced them.

Some Democrats are skeptical, like Sen. Sherrod Brown, suspecting that Republicans are bluffing. “They’re joking, right? This is serious? The Republicans—the tea party has never been for consumer laws, never been for protecting families, never been for making Medicare work better. So it’s a continued sham.”

Democrats could call their bluff, and actually force Republicans to act on this—write and bring to the floor their own legislation to preserve the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act should the Supreme Court strike it down. Then we'd see who's really calling the shots in the Republican Party.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:05:13 AM PDT

  •  If the ACA gets struck down in its entirety, (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans will most likely stall until after the election.  If they introduce any replacement legislation at all, it'll be filled to the brim with poison.  Dems can't "call their bluff" because it'll come with an amendment to lower the capital gains rate to 0% or some shit.

    •  the under 26 laws costs nothing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless

      So, I highly doubt Republicans would balk at passing that... it puts the burden of cost on Insurance providers and/or customers, not on the federal government.. so, it's almost a no-brainer.

      Preexisting conditions as a standalone law is dead on arrival, however.  Insurers would never go for it without a mandate.

    •  Republicans could punt (0+ / 0-)

      Say it is an issue for the states.  In that way in states where voters want single payer, insurance exchanges, subsidies for those with prior conditions and mandates, etc., they can do what they prefer.

      This would also give support to Romney's argument that MA chose their program.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The best way for the Democrats to call (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MyMy, tb mare, TRPChicago

    their bluff is to have their own plan ready.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:17:58 AM PDT

  •  probably one of their tactical options already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmartini
    Democrats could call their bluff, and actually force Republicans to act on this—write and bring to the floor their own legislation to preserve the popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act should the Supreme Court strike it down. Then we'd see who's really calling the shots in the Republican Party.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:19:08 AM PDT

  •  Everyone is waiting for the SCOTUS ruling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry J

    I don't see any need for anything that is taking place right now with regard to "Obamacare".  Nothing will matter until the ruling by the "Supremes", of course.  Right now, it's all moot.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:19:59 AM PDT

  •  Sherrod Brown calls it as he sees it (0+ / 0-)

    It's a continued sham because the Republicans don't have a plan to replace the PPACA!

  •  Really screwed, but not hopeless. (0+ / 0-)

    The Supreme Court might bail them out a little bit (maybe), but...

    Let's see...

    Back when the Congress was deliberating the ACA, the Republicans offered up...wait...what was that? Oh, yeah: Nothing.

    Their Presidential candidate is --- Wait for it!!! --- the first governmental executive to implement near carbon-copy of key Obamacare provisions at the state level, to the point that it can as fairly be called RomneyCare as Obamacare.

    Like I said, there might be some way to maneuver a Supreme Court finding -- though I'm not sure what that might be, but, barring that, how can Republicans possibly look good here?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:21:41 AM PDT

    •  You assume the Repubs must look good here.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      Why?

      This is an unpopular Democrat law... even the term "Obamacare" has become standard reference for that piece of crap bill.

      This will be an utter failure for President Obama and the Democratic party.  The thrust of the Repubs will be to make Dems, and especially President Obama, look like failures.  They will not be hurrying to fix up their mess.. no siree.. no hurry at all.

      •  What is so bad about it? (0+ / 0-)

        I agree it was an utter failure of Obama and the Democrats - but only because they passed a REPUBLICAN health care plan.  This came out of the Heritage Foundation.

        And it is interesting that Republicans care more about making Dems look like failures then actually working for the health and welfare of our citizens.

        So, what exactly is it about Obamacare that you don't like?  The only thing I have heard is the insurance mandate - but it makes sense to me that we should mandate insurance.  Do you really want to go back to the socialist healthcare we had before where everyone could get healthcare but only some of us will pay for it?

      •  Because people don't like the parts that haven't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sue B, dinotrac

        been implemented, or they think they don't. However, the parts that have been implemented are very popular. People who are enjoying those parts aren't going to be very happy when they're taken away. They may even question the wisdom of verbally tearing it apart, which makes the Repukes look bad.

        Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

        by HappyinNM on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:02:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's close to the answer. (0+ / 0-)

          The real answer is that ACA is a big steaming pile of crap that swallowed up a few good items and left out more than a few more.

          Democrats would be vulnerable to "big government freedom-haters" criticism had the Republicans introduced smaller, more streamlined bills to provide a few needed reforms without the crap, but...

          THEY DIDN'T!!

          Seems to me that the best offense in this case is "Where were you?"

          Maybe --

          "We tried to create something uniquely American, something to address some very real problems facing ordinary Americans, something that is crippling the American economy.

          We asked you for your ideas.
          Where were they?

          We reached out to you.
          Where were you?

          We managed to put something together without you.
          We did it without the benefit of your wisdeom and your knowledge because you witheld that from us.
          We did it wihout the vantage point of your philosophical views because you didn't want to share them.

          Yeah, we could have done better.
          At least we were there. At least we did something.
          Where were you? What did you do?"

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:51:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's pure con (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, ferg, The BigotBasher

    They'll claim they will put those 'good' parts back in if SCOTUS strikes the law down, but not until after they've won Congress. Good grief! What idiot would ever believe a word they say? They've reneged on every deal, they lie like rugs, and they think people are utterly stupid.

  •  It doesn't work without a mandate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seeds, TheCrank, nextstep, evangeline135

    Protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied insurance does not work without an insurance mandate.  There is no way you can have one without the other.  If the policy is that insurance companies cannot deny insurance and everyone is free to not have insurance, then people wouldn't get insurance until they are sick - and that defeats the purpose.  It would create an environment where the healthy don't have insurance and the sick do, so the cost of insurance would skyrocket.  There is a reason for the mandate.  It might not be popular, but it is necessary in order to keep the things we like in Obamacare.

    •  You have said it all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheCrank
      Protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied insurance does not work without an insurance mandate.
      And, if the SCOTUS only calls the "mandate" unconstitutional, that will be sufficient to end the entire program.  I agree wholeheartedly.

      Great point.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:40:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly so (0+ / 0-)

      They don't understand the supply and demand of the relationship between these provisions, or they do and they're completely disingenuous about it.

      It would actually create a SPIRAL of rising costs, as fewer and fewer healthy people could afford to participate in the plans as they became dominated by those with high-need policies. Eventually health insurance would cease to exist since no health care provider could afford to insure only the sick.

      Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

      by TheCrank on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:46:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  socialised medicine? (0+ / 0-)

      I have no insurance, have cover for all pre-existing conditions, no lifetime cap.............

      God bless the National Health Service and the British taxpayer (and I am one)

    •  that's the bind the repubs will (0+ / 0-)

      be in if they go to repeal it.  The insurance companies know they can never get the mandate through congress again, so repeal would be their nightmare (and they have a lot of pull with repub senators/congresspeople), and all the medical industrial complex, at every level, is counting on this bill to save them from the death spiral they are already in...

      Only a mandate or single payer can cover the pre-ex people, and the repubs sure don't want single payer.

      So, if they repeal, pre-ex has to go, and so on...

      They won't do it.

  •  You mean "Let 'em die!" isn't the official (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheCrank

    GOP position?

    Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

    by Pescadero Bill on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:28:50 AM PDT

    •  That's good spin (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Americantrueandblue

      But, in your heart of hearts, do you truly think that most republicans believe that?  It's good rhetoric and it fires up some (emphasis "some") people, but, really?

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:42:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, yes I do. On some primordial level. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The BigotBasher

        You can't be for cutting social programs without knowing that it will probably cost some people their lives by some means or other. Be it by freezing to death in an unheated apartment, or because a person was afraid of the expense involved in having a lump in their breast checked out.

        That's the difference between us and them. We care to promote government to help people and are willing to absorb the cost to us personally if need be.

        They care to have as much money in their pockets as possible, other people be damned.

        Greed has always had at it's core a willingness to turn ones back on suffering.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:53:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If they truly believed that health care is a (0+ / 0-)

        right, they would have worked with the Dems to create a workable plan. But they didn't. So maybe they really don't care.

        Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

        by HappyinNM on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:07:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This was exclusively democratic (0+ / 0-)

          "We'll know what in it when it is passed".

          Look, we don't need things like this to be passed in Congress, especially something this big.  We need to know what's in it.  EVERYONE needs to know what's in it.  That's a joke, really.  That was wrong on so many levels.  The populist and the congress was kept from knowing the provisions in that bill.  We can be all about it being something the president wanted and something our party in congress got done, but not knowing the provisions was just totally wrong.  I don't care WHAT side you stand on.

          - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

          by r2did2 on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:15:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Every Democrat running for any office (0+ / 0-)

    needs to jump all over their opponent about these provisions.  Do you support keeping the up to age 26 provision?  Do you support not being able to deny for a pre-existing condidtion?  Do you support not having co-pays for preventive care?  If you support any or all of these provisions, what will you do to replace them if the SCOTUS throws out the entire law?  If the mandate is thrown out, what to you propose to pay for these provisions?

    Beat on them at every opportunity - in person, in op-eds, in stump speeches.

    •  Nothing happens until the SCOTUS ruling (0+ / 0-)

      Good points.  But, untol there's a ruling in June by the SCOTUS, it's all truly moot.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:43:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with Obamacare is not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    r2did2, Sue B

    what's in the bill ("facts", "reality"), but that the bill came from the Democratic side of the aisle ("cooties"). The Repubs should just translate the bill into German, Russian, or some other language that lends itself to authoritarianism, translate it back, and claim it as their own (no cooties!)

    Then everybody will be happy!

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:36:47 AM PDT

  •  Republicans are SO bad at math (0+ / 0-)

    The insanity of the idea you could include the no pre-existing conditions clause without mandatory universal coverage just shows you how stupid, stupid, dumb, stupid the GOP is. You'd think they would understand the supply and demand equation here (and that was part of the original GOP proposals around universal coverage anyway) that if you don't have mandatory enrollment, but you can't deny on pre-existing conditions, EVERYBODY'S COSTS WILL SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. You'll just end up having more healthy people uninsured as a result of the higher costs and even worse costs because of high-need patients/enrollees.

    So, maybe it's just the dumbest pander in the history of politics, or it's just another case of the GOP not understanding the first thing about market economics, take your pick.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:43:26 AM PDT

  •  I shudder to think of the pay-fors (0+ / 0-)

    Keep:
     - coverage up to 26 on parent's plan
     - free preventive care
     - no pre-existing conditions
     - cover 30 million more people
     - donut hole coverage

    but drop:
     - mandate
     - tax increases
     - penalties on businesses that don't offer health care

    sounds like a deficit buster to me.  So how to pay for it?  I can only imagine what they will propose.

    why I'm a Democrat - Isaiah 58:6-12, Matthew 25:31-46

    by marking time on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:54:27 AM PDT

  •  Of course, they're confused! It was THEIR (0+ / 0-)

    plan ... until the black guy in the white house agreed with them.

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Wed May 30, 2012 at 11:57:25 AM PDT

  •  Certainly hope Dems are drafting their own Plan B (0+ / 0-)

    in the even all or some is thrown out by the GOP Court, er I mean the Supreme Court.  Dems sure as hell need to continue to LEAD in this area in the event of a set back.  And NOT let GOP proactively put up the facade of leading.

  •  I simply can't figure this one out... (0+ / 0-)

    Is this some strange strategy to win the White House or something?  Tack to the left while crossing their fingers that the hardliners on the far right will vote hard for not-Obama, regardless of what is actually being said by the person they vote for?

    This of course feeds the ultimate fantasy of seeing the GOP actually get split into two parties warring with each other.

  •  Teabaggers hate President Obama so much (0+ / 0-)

    that they are willing to risk their own health and the health of their children, just to spite him.

    Ann Richards on how to be a good Republican: You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.

    by shoeless on Wed May 30, 2012 at 12:00:52 PM PDT

  •  Let's face facts (0+ / 0-)

    The Republicans hate this bill for one reason and one reason only: libertarian-leaning Republican support (they can't rightfully be call teabaggers anymore, since the tea party was hijacked by the neocons and old moral majoritarians) hates it, and the Republicans have no chance of winning anything without it.

    If mainstream and moderate Republicans were to propose a bill, it would look exactly like ObamaCare minus a few parts people like.

  •  If SCOTUS throws out ACA then Dems ... (0+ / 0-)

    say "good riddance to the REPULICAN part that forced support for the insurance companies" and promote the single payer, medicare for all option.  Seriously, the part of the plan that the public dislikes is the built in payments to insurance companies.  Can you seriously think what the reaction is going to be when the parts that have gone into effect that everyone likes are tossed and the blame for getting them tossed is squarely in the lap of the republicans? Remember, there is an election coming. Would you want to be the republicon congressman who has to go back to his district and run on the record of being the person who eliminated the no preexisting conditions, no being tossed off the plan when needed, support for young adults who haven't yet been able to get their own plan, and reinstating the "donut hole", etc?  That is not a winning message.  The Repugs know that.  That is why they are now trying to step away from that.  I say let's not let them.  IF the SCOTUS kills the ACA, then let's us push for the true progressive plan and let the Cons take the rap.

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