After six long years, the Republicans finally have a chance to kick-off the Trump era through the abolition of ObamaCare.
As the outgoing President huddled with Democrats on the hill yesterday, the future President’s criticism of the program and ” incoming vice president expressed said they would have a mandate to junk it.
But it is a little more complicated than that.
Donald Trump, setting the tone for the day, tweeting, “the Republicans have to be careful that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, increases with its poor coverage and massive bonuses such as the 116% hike in Arizona. Also, deductibles are so high that it is practically useless. Do not let the Schumer clowns from this network.”
In a GOP press conference, Paul Ryan and his top lieutenants, the program being attacked, and Mike Pence, made it clear that “the first order of business” is to “repeal and replace”.
“We were told, if you like you can keep your doctor, you can with your doctor. Not true. We have been told, if you want your health insurance, your health insurance can. Not true,” Pence said.
But then he got to the heart of the matter: What would happen to the millions of Americans who are now covered by the Federal and state marketplaces? The former Congressman said they would begin an “orderly transition to something better” and would be careful that it is not “work a hardship on American families.”
Pressed by the reporters, Pence, spoke about such ideas as health savings accounts but stressed that “we do not want to pull the carpet from the people, while we replace the law.”
So, here’s the catch: Trump has said he wants to hold up two ObamaCare-elements: it allows parents, their children on their policies until the age of 26 years, and apart from insurance companies from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
But the second provision is tied to ObamaCare, which determined the individual mandate, the Republicans, to eliminate them. This would allow people to wait until they are sick and then apply for the insurance and how Rand Paul has noticed that more and more healthy people out of the system.
Chuck Schumer on collapsed, according to what he said as an “exciting” meeting with Barack Obama, that Republicans would “create chaos in the health system” and throws them a “full-scale assault” on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the Obama law.
To not know “our Republican colleagues, what to do, you are like a dog that caught the bus,” the Senate minority leader said in a Democratic presser.
Clearly, the Democrats Medicare wrap-in the debate want, because you are already attacked for blaming the other party, the program for decades. What is more, it is said that Trump has, he doesn’t want to touch Medicare.
ObamaCare is flawed, with the help of many people flown out of their plans and into more expensive and less sweeping insurance. But it also expanded coverage to many Americans.
Politically, the Republicans can do what they want, because they have 52 senators, and a majority of the votes for the repeal of ObamaCare by a household technique called reconciliation.
And the Democrats would be hard-pressed to cry foul as Obama pushed through his health care law on a party-line vote.
But the GOP has to find a way to thread the needle. And the challenge for the media is to cut through the rhetoric and drill-down on this high-stakes issue.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and has its headquarters in Washington. You can follow him at @Howard Kurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.