While the graph shows a vast majority of House GOP members proclaiming their commitment to either repealing Obamacare or repealing and replacing it, the full picture is more complicated. A number of lawmakers in the "repeal and replace" camp also embrace some of Obamacare's most popular provisions. […]So 31 actually try to come up with some kind of replacement plan that includes the popular provisions of Obamacare, out of the 128 who talk about "repeal and replace." Those replacement plans all include the Obamacare stuff that even Republicans say has to be maintained—specifically coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
All told, 31 Republican House members express some support for an element of the Affordable Care Act. In each case, they say they favor covering people with pre-existing conditions. Ten websites also include a line supporting policies requiring insurers to allow parents to keep kids on their health care plans until age 26. In addition, two lawmakers express support for Medicaid coverage.
And that is the nut of their problem in trying to come up with a not-totally-bogus plan. There isn't any other effective way to do this and keep the private insurance system than how Obamacare did it. If you're going to cover the sick, expensive people, you have to have everyone signed up to help pay for them. To have everyone signed up, you have to have some kind of mandate that people buy insurance. Or the whole thing collapses. The only real alternative, and it's a very good one, is single payer.
And that's where the Republican flail comes in. They've painted themselves into a corner, or at least the 31 who want to pretend that they're serious lawmakers and care about their constituents have. And they made a losing bet when they went all in on repeal.