Why Republicans Will Never Replace Obamacare

I noted the possibility last week, but it seems increasingly likely the effort to repeal Obamacare is dead.

TPM reports that five GOP senators now want to delay the repeal vote until a replacement is agreed upon. That means if every Democrat holds firm against repeal, Republicans don’t have the votes to do it.

Jonathan Chait: “Republicans can use a budget reconciliation bill to defund Obamacare. A reconciliation bill can evade a filibuster and pass with just 50 Senators. But that bill can’t create a new system, because reconciliation bills can only be used to change taxes and spending… That means, if Republicans want to actually put a new system into place, and not just turn the health care market into a smoking crater, they need at least 8 Senate Democrats to join them.”

“What that means is that replacing Obamacare at the same time it’s repealed would create completely different parameters for what happens next. There aren’t going to be 8 Democrats willing to support a right-wing bill that throws people into catastrophic coverage plans that don’t cover basic medical care, as conservatives would like.”

“That’s why repeal and delay was the best chance to destroy Obamacare… But this plan only works if 50 Senate Republicans are willing to gamble that they can hold the one-seventh of the economy consumed by health care as a hostage and force a bunch of Democrats to go along. If that gamble fails, the ruin could easily trigger a backlash against the majority party. Apparently not enough Senate Republicans are willing to roll the dice. If this holds, Obamacare, or something substantially similar, is probably going to survive.”

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