Jay Bookman

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

Wait! Is that the GOP plan to replace ObamaCare?!?!


I confess that I'm growing a tad bit worried.

By my count, today is Day 1,933 since House Speaker John Boehner and then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell first pledged to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare.

Five years, three months, two weeks and two days -- plus an extra day for leap year back in 2012 -- have come and gone since then, but still no replacement plan. Oh sure, there are "plans." Washington is thick with "plans." But even though the Republicans now control both the House and the Senate, none of those "plans" have even been given so much as a subcommittee vote that would put people on the record in support of them.

More than a year ago -- on Jan. 30, 2014, or 525 days ago -- then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised that "House Republicans will rally around and pass an alternative to Obamacare this year."   In February of that year, Cantor claimed that the GOP was ready “to finalize our Obamacare replacement plan," which it would release and act upon any day now.

Still no plan. Instead of replacing ObamaCare, the GOP replaced Cantor, who was beaten in a Republican primary later that year. (His opponent accused Cantor of being too accommodating to ObamaCare.)

As recently as Jan. 28, 2015, Boehner was still promising the American people that “There will be an alternative, and you will get to see it.” But 162 days later, still no plan and no apparent progress toward a plan.

So you see why I'm a little worried.

If one did not know better, one might believe that the Republican Party is incapable of producing such a plan. One might believe that the GOP has spent the last one thousand, nine hundred and 33 days trying to hide its incompetence behind a shield of bluster and whining.

If one did not know better, that is.

Of course, they're still talking about repeal. Repeal repeal repeal. Back in 2013, after the umpteenth vote to repeal, Boehner explained that "we have 70 new members who have not had an opportunity" to vote against ObamaCare. In 2015, after yet another vote, it was because “We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal Obamacare.”

But at this point, you can't simply repeal ObamaCare without having something to replace it. That would create total chaos. Boehner himself acknowledged that point back in April 24, 2014 -- one year, two months, two weeks and a day ago.

Yet still no plan.

Even more worrisome? None of the Republican presidential candidates has presented a plan to replace ObamaCare. As Jeb Bush helpfully points out, "Having a pre-existing condition should not mean patients have to worry about keeping their coverage or getting the care they need. We need a conservative solution that works for those patients."

But hey, this is only Day 1,933. Maybe Donald Trump has a plan?


Reader Comments ...

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.