Democrats will not repeal Obamacare, and a lot of moderate Republicans would just as soon leave it in place. Both positions are an affront to the American people – who desperately want health care reform that gives them the ability to choose affordable insurance.
That’s why the American people overwhelmingly rejected last week’s House bill. They saw it as Washington keeping the status quo.
It would not have increased competition and it would have kept the cost of health insurance premiums rising; a combination that would have spelled disaster for Republicans in 2018.
Fortunately, House Speaker Paul Ryan is now listening and is ready to work with conservatives, who have been fighting for the priorities of the American people from the start. The members of the House Freedom Caucus understand that any Obamacare repeal must deliver on President Trump’s promises to bring back competition, leading to the kind of choices that will drive down costs.
To do that, the Speaker needs a repeal effort that plugs in three elements:
- Selling health insurance across state lines. It’s a free-market reform that will make a big difference.
- The rollback of more of the costly Obamacare regulations that are responsible for driving up the price of health insurance. Cutting those regulations will even reduce federal spending on the tax credits that are now part of the House bill.
- Handling pre-existing conditions with state high-risk pools. Speaker Ryan has called them “a smart way of guaranteeing coverage for people with preexisting conditions.”
In January 2016, after Republicans overwhelmingly passed an Obamacare repeal that was vetoed by President Obama, Speaker Ryan said, “Next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law. Obamacare will be gone.” The American people believed that pledge and elected Donald Trump. Next year is here, and they want to see all Republicans keep their word to make sure Obamacare is gone, and to put in its place reforms that offer affordable coverage.
If Republicans don’t make reforms like these, or if moderate Republicans remain intransigent about even sitting down to negotiate a better bill, they will pay a steep price in 2018. Health care costs will continue climbing and voters will be angry that Obamacare is living on in a new Republican form, especially after four elections worth of promises to kill it.