Republicans Promise “Universal Access” Will Replace Obamacare

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According to an anonymous aide to House Republicans, the current repeal/replacement plan for Obamacare will ensure that all Americans have the chance to purchase health insurance at affordable rates. The aide, who spoke to journalists this week, said that Republicans were determined to keep the playing field level without necessarily turning the federal government into a de facto health insurance provider.

“Our goal here is to make sure that everybody can buy coverage or find coverage if they choose to,” the aide said at a health care briefing put together by House Republican leaders.

Republicans are eager to get control of the Obamacare narrative, and they need to do it quickly. With Trump ascending to the White House, the ball is in the GOP’s court. But even though they should be playing offense, they are still giving Democrats the lead when it comes to public relations. And so millions of Americans are being told, day in and day out, that they are about to lose their health insurance. Thanks to the Republicans, the sick and poor will be dying in the gutters.

“There’s a lot of scare tactics out there on this,” said Rep. Kevin Brady. “We can reassure the American public that the plan they are in right now, the Obamacare plans, will not end on Jan. 20.”

But see, this is still a defensive statement. Republicans are in a position where they are forced to defend their stance on Obamacare, as though it’s a fact that repealing the law will lead to a nation in chaos. This is what happens when you don’t have leaders willing to stand on principle. This is what happens when you have a media that refuses to tell the truth about this disastrous, job-killing, freedom-destroying law. This is what happens when no Republican has the guts to say, “Look, the ACA is dead whether we repeal it or not. We might as well get out in front of it.” Because that’s the truth.

On that, House Speaker Paul Ryan actually deserves some credit. Ryan is one of the only top Republicans willing to call it like it is when it comes to Obamacare’s death spiral.

“Insurance markets are collapsing,” Ryan said this week. “Premiums are soaring. Patients’ choices are dwindling.”

According to the anonymous House aide, the goal was not to make sure every American was insured. Instead, the goal was to make sure everyone had equal opportunity.

“We would like to get to a point where we have what we call universal access, where everybody is able to access coverage to some degree or another,” the aide said. “Over the past six years, if you look at the experience we’ve had with the A.C.A. rollout, chasing coverage doesn’t necessarily yield great outcomes. You can have people going into an exchange, finding out that their pediatrician is no longer available to them.”

A successful repeal and replacement is possible. But first, Republicans need to sell the American people on a plan that’s better, stronger, and more sustainable than Obama’s. It really shouldn’t be that hard to do.