Friday, June 15, 2012

Greg Sargent: "The Morning Plum: The GOP plan to replace Obamacare with ..."

Greg Sargent:
With a ruling set for as soon as next week on Obamacare, both sides are busily preparing for the ferocious spin war that will erupt in the wake of the decision. I’m not one who believes there’s any silver lining for Dems in a decision against the law — it could help reinforce the narrative that Obama allowed himself to get distracted from the economy with nothing to show for it.
But it’s still fair to ask whether such a decision would also put more pressure on Republicans to explain what, exactly, they would replace health reform with, and what they’d do for those who’d be stranded if the law is voided. And so this nugget buried in today’s New York Times piece on the coming public relations battle is pretty interesting:
After a repeal vote, Republicans plan to first let the dust settle. Then ... they would move forward incrementally with bills to allow the purchase of insurance across state lines, to loosen restrictions on consumers wishing to change insurers, and to bolster tax-preferred health savings accounts. When several Republican lawmakers suggested popular parts of the health care law would be maintained, conservatives loudly revolted....
A senior Republican House aide said it was up to the White House, not Republicans, to produce a contingency plan for those left behind by a court invalidation, like the thousands of sick people or consumers with pre-existing conditions in new federally backed high-risk pools.
This obviously is not great sourcing, and could definitely use some more reporting. But if Republicans have decided that their argument will be that it’s all on the White House to come up with another plan for the sick and for those with preexisting conditions, that seems pretty newsworthy. After all, Mitt Romney’s campaign has now gone on record admitting something similar: His plan would only guarantee coverage to people with preexisting conditions if they’ve had constant, continuous coverage in the past.
Again, a decision against the health law — which seems very possible, or even likely — would be terrible for Dems. But the provision barring discrimination against those with preexisting conditions is very popular. And if it becomes clear that the GOP sees no obligation to replace that provision, it could clarify the choice this fall in new ways and play unpredictably during the campaign. MORE...

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