Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

McConnell's plan to replace Obamacare? 'We'll let you know'

So what's the GOP plan if the Supreme Court dares to use a four-word drafting error to  gut Obamacare, stripping health insurance subsidies from millions of Americans and disrupting the health-insurance market for many millions more?

With the ruling expected in the next couple of weeks, what's the plan?

"We'll let you know," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today.

Really? You'll let us know?

Unbelievable as that is, it becomes more amazing still when you consider that it's been five years since Republicans first trotted out their promise to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, with McConnell himself making the announcement. He and his fellow Republicans have been repeating that slogan like a mantra ever since.

"We can do better," McConnell assured us back in that March 2010 unveiling. "We can expand access to people with pre-existing conditions, we can keep people from being kicked off their plan, we can lower costs and premiums, we can do all of these things without undermining the things that we do best and without raising taxes that kill jobs in a bad economy. The American people know that. That's why they've been clamoring for a different approach."

"Repeal and replace," McConnell continued. "That's what Americans really want."

But five years have passed, and we still have no idea how the Republicans would accomplish all of those remarkable things.  Five years and some four dozen repeal votes later, we have yet to see any movement on a replacement plan, not even so much as a committee markup.

Five years, and it's still "we'll let you know"?

For all this time, they've been playing a shell game, promising the American people that they had a magic pea under one of those shells that they were constantly shuffling around on the table in front of us. There is no magic pea; there is no GOP plan to replace Obamacare. There never was and never will be.

They don't have the guts to propose a Republican plan. They don't have the party unity that would be needed to pass such a plan. They don't have the policy proposals that would constitute a plan. They don't have the compassion that would drive them to create a plan.

They got nothin'.



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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.