The Colorado Republican congressional delegation is talking a lot about a “replacement” for Obamacare, as if they have something in mind, without actually pointing to an actual factual replacement–or even any details leading in the direction of a replacement.
Reporters should be extra careful to point out that Republicans have no replacement plan, because all the talk about one can easily confuse already confused people into thinking that Colorado Republicans have a plan.
As an example of how Republicans try to disguise their absence of a plan as a plan, check out this passage from a Jan. 13 Denver Post opinion piece, authored by all of Colorado’s GOP members of Congress (with the glaring exception of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.)
And speaking of replacement plans, the narrative that Republicans have offered no plan to replace Obamacare is false. Republicans have introduced multiple alternative health care plans since 2010, and we encourage you to review them. The most recent replacement plan was offered by the Republican Study Committee, called the American Health Care Reform Act. The Empowering Patients First Act was a plan put forth in the 114th Congress by future Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Tom Price. Our Better Way Agenda also includes a blueprint for replacing Obamacare that is centered on more choices, lowers costs, and greater flexibility.
Many plans does not mean you have a plan. Gentlemen, which plan do you favor, if any?
Even though Gardner didn’t join his colleagues in the Denver Post opinion, he made a similar statement on KOA 850-AM Jan. 13 (audio below):
Gardner: We have introduced several bills — hundreds of bills, really — small and big over the past several years to replace Obamacare. Some are very targeted, some are much more comprehensive: legislation by Tom Price –soon to be the Secretary of Health; legislation by Dr. Grasso, a Senator from Wyoming who is a physician; legislation from Bill Cassidy, a physician himself from Louisiana that will be introduced next. These are all going to be considered as part of the replacement once it’s repealed.
Hundreds of bills! Small and big! Very targeted! All will be considered! (But, alas, still, no plan.)
But, it’s worth noting, and it’s in fact newsworthy, that Colorado’s congressional Republicans are saying the Price plan is in the mix, because analysts say that millions of people would lose their health insurance under Price’s proposal. And Price is Trump’s nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Cassidy plan, also mentioned by Gardner, would leave millions of people uninsured or underinsured, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In fact, Trump’s promises aside, I can’t find someone who’s making a credible case that any of the floated Republican plans, either individually or combined with one another, won’t throw millions of people off the health insurance rolls. (Here’s a look at a few more GOP plans.)
9News anchor Kyle Clark noted Gardner’s awareness of the problem, reporting that Gardner “would not commit to having an Affordable Care Act replacement that covers everyone with insurance now.”
But the big numbers involved might explain why Gardner literally turned and walked away from Vox.com editor Sarah Kliff when she asked about coverage under the Price plan, because millions lose it.
The numbers and obfuscation also are the reason reporters should press for an answer to the questions about a replacement plan and its impact. And not mince words in informing us of non-answers.
Listen to Cory Gardner on 850-KOA Jan. 13.