Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), a key sponsor of a conservative health bill that uses a free-market approach to health reform, will become majority whip later this month.In other words, they haven't figured anything out. They're still tossing around the ideas that they can agree on, but none of those ideas actually replaces Obamacare because none of them is comprehensive. They haven't figured out whether they try to cobble those ideas together into what they'll call their plan, or vote on them separately. Nearly half of the Republican caucus has only ever cared about repeal because that's what got them elected, so they are only invested in destroying Obamacare and don't believe government should be involved at all in fixing this. But the so-called "establishment" Republicans understand that they have to finally fulfill their promise to have an alternative, and also understand that they have to have a decent alternative for the 20+ million who now have coverage thanks to the law.
House Republicans agree that Scalise’s elevation is good news for ultimately getting a replacement measure to the floor, as a majority of them support the blueprint he and Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) rolled out last fall. But while Scalise has been touting the bill—most recently on a trip to Tennessee last week—he hasn’t promised the rank and file it will get a vote. That decision would ultimately be up to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif).
In fact, no one’s predicting when a floor vote might happen. GOP lawmakers remain far from unified when it comes to the nitty-gritty details of what reforms to present and how to frame them to voters. They agree on some of the broad policy ideas, like allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines. But they don’t agree on how comprehensive reform should be, whether some tasks should be in state or federal hands, and what it should cost.
The clock is ticking and they got nuthin'. And people are starting to notice, according to Idaho Republican Mike Simpson: "I think the feeling of the majority members of our conference is that you can't be something with nothing, and we gotta have [an answer for] 'What would you do if you were going to repeal Obamacare.' […] People ask me that all the time."