In a column published to Politico earlier this month, weeks before last week’s disastrous failure of the American Health Care Act to pass (let alone be presented for a vote) in Congress, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz laid out the perfect plan for repealing Obamacare.
“First, begin with the 2015 repeal language,” he wrote, adding that the original Obamacare repeal bill relied on the budget reconciliation process to pass both the House and Senate (despite a lack of 60 votes) and make it onto the desk of former President Barack Obama.
“In 2015, Congress passed language on reconciliation repealing most of Obamacare,” he continued. “Virtually every Republican in Congress voted for that language, and the parliamentarian has already ruled it as permissible. We should begin with that previously approved repeal language as the baseline.”
Incidentally, this bill still exists. According to Red State, “a replica bill has sat unaddressed in committee since March 8th and there’s a path to getting it to a floor vote quickly.”
“A clean repeal is what Republicans have been promising the American people for seven years,” noted Red State. “A clean repeal bill is sitting in committee, ready to go through the same process it breezed through in 2015 but in which the AHCA failed.”
So what’s House Speaker Paul Ryan waiting for!?
Granted, a clean repeal is GREAT for starters, but more would be needed afterward. Thankfully, Cruz has that covered as well.
Second, he wrote, Congress needs to repeal Obamacare’s insurance regulations, which were not included in the original repeal bill due to certain legislative issues.
“But we’ve got to repeal those mandates,” he added:
Why? The single biggest factor driving popular dissatisfaction with Obamacare is skyrocketing premiums. And the insurance mandates are the biggest factor driving those premiums. If we “repeal” Obamacare, and leave the insurance mandates in place, the premiums paid by families will remain sky-high. And that’s unacceptable — voters would rightly deem repeal a farce if we don’t actually drive premiums down to where they’re affordable again.
Third, Congress needs to add the following seven stipulations:
- “[A]llow consumers to purchase insurnace across state lines.
- “[E]xpand health savings accounts so that consumers can save on a tax-advantaged basis for more ordinary health insurance expenses.”
- “[C]hange the tax laws to make health insurance portable, so that if you lose you job you don’t lose your health insurance.”
- “[P]rotect continuous coverage. If you have coverage, and you get sick or injured, your health insurance company shouldn’t be able to cancel your policy or jack up your premiums.”
- “[A]llow small businesses to pool together in association plans to get better rates for their employees.”
- “[A]llow states to create high-risk pools or pursue other innovative solutions to insure that the most vulnerable among us have access to affordable health care.”
- “[B]lock grant Medicaid to the states.”
Note that many of these stipulations were not included in President Donald Trump and Speaker Ryan’s AHCA, which raises a number of questions …
Combined, this three-step process could easily be used by the House to repeal and replace Obamacare. In fact, the first step — repealing Obamacare by using last year’s bill — could be performed TODAY. All it would take is some willingness by President Trump and Speaker Ryan.
Yet all I hear are silence from President Trump and Speaker Ryan, which raises these two final questions: are they, in fact, willing? And if not, WHY!?