It’s no secret that the Affordable Care Act, signed into effect back in 2010, hasn’t been popular with Republicans in Congress. And since the messy rollout of healthcare.gov last fall, a growing number of Americans aren’t too pleased with President Obama’s hallmark legislation, either. Right-wingers have been crowing repeal for years now.
But by and large, the biggest question has remained unanswered. If Republicans were able to wrestle Obamacare to the ground and finally dispose of it entirely, what would be left to replace it with?
So far, there hasn’t been a clear answer. But a recent Washington Post interview could be a signal that the gears have begun turning in the quest to dream up a viable alternative. House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a top Republican, spoke with the Post on March 16th in order to lay out the basics of what a conservative healthcare fix will likely entail.
In keeping with the party’s ethos, the plan would subscribe to the idea that what’s good for business is good for the nation at large.
“The plan includes an expansion of high-risk insurance pools, promotion of health savings accounts and inducements for small businesses to purchase coverage together,” the Post reports. In addition, a GOP-approved healthcare plan could include the ability for people to buy into insurance premiums from other states as well as changes to the standards that regulate medical malpractice.
But why announce the party’s intentions to drum up a new plan now in the middle of March? For one thing, it’s 2014, which means it’s an election year, and midterm congressional elections are only eight months away. By drafting a basic outline of a GOP-sponsored national healthcare plan, the party presents voters with a clear divide between Republican and Democratic ideas. It’s that separation that just might make a difference at the polls come November.
Then again, it could all just be a rehashing of old ideas to intimidate Democrats. As Politico points out, some of these initiatives have been discussed since 2009, yet until this point they’ve remained completely inactive in the Republican realm. Plus, individual Senate and House Republicans have spoken out since then, saying they’ve penned their own plans. And it’s going to take some serious discussions to get everyone on the same page.
One sector that might not be pleased with a healthcare overhaul is the urgent care industry, which has grown exponentially since Obamacare’s initial launch. Because of the ACA’s attempts to reduce costs of outpatient care, urgent care has flourished due to its convenience and accessible operating schedules. In fact, nearly 9,000 centers are now open throughout the U.S., all providing walk-in care and accepting most insurance plans.
While it’s too early to place bets on the final results, it’s clear that until Republicans create a tangible, actionable plan to replace Obamacare, they’re just bluffing. Still, with Obamacare rapidly losing public support, who’s going to call them on it?