Repeal and Replace. That was the common refrain when House Republicans actually repealed ObamaCare in their chamber a year ago. Of course, the Senate Democrats rejected the repeal. But now there is a chance- some would say even a strong chance- that ObamaCare will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court before the election in November. If the high Court decides that the individual mandate, which forces individuals to purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional, and that President Obama’s signature legislation cannot go forward without that mandate, ObamaCare will stop dead in its tracks. Then what?
That’s where the Replace part comes in. Now, I won’t whine and complain about how things seem to take a long time to get done in Washington, but the replacement for ObamaCare should be on the assembly line, waiting to be packaged and sent to stores near all of us. We know the talking points that make good common sense: purchase health insurance across state lines, own our health insurance policies so they are portable, tort reform, free-market principles, etc. Of course, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the reliable person that he is, has thought through a great deal of this, and has based his conservative answer to health care reform on his Medicare reform proposal.
But, where are the details and how do we plug ObamaCare’s replacement into our lives if the law is declared unconstitutional?
Health care legislation is not like other aspects of our lives. If the Supreme Court nixes ObamaCare, all those 26 year-olds who are currently on their parents’ plans could suddenly be without health insurance. What about pre-existing conditions? How exactly will this feature, that most people find favorable, be translated into a conservative health care reform plan? How will free-market principles become part of health care reform? And what’s the timeline?
Republicans need a single, detailed plan that all Americans can understand easily. That means Republicans will need to work together, using Congressman Ryan’s plan as a foundation. Delay, or failure to comprehend that Americans- both individuals and businesses- are anxious about health insurance and health care costs, as they have been since ObamaCare was passed, will only create more of an image of incompetence and invite further ridicule from liberal Democrats and their cronies, the formerly mainstream media.
Currently, Republicans have the American people on their side. Most Americans continue to want ObamaCare repealed. However, if a Supreme Court decision comes before full congressional repeal, Republicans would be wise to have a reform plan ready with an easy-to-read instruction manual. True, Senate Democrats may not give it the time of day, but let Americans see, once again, the Senate Democrats as the true obstructionists they are, just prior to the election.