Repeal and replace this

Time for GOP to go back to the drawing board on health reform

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have trouble wrapping his head around the number 22 million, but at least he understands the number 50 when it comes to the Obamacare repeal he tried to steamroll to passage this week.

McConnell unveiled his chamber’s version of the American Health Care Act, which a dozen Republicans drafted in secret, last Thursday (June 22). Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis, concluding that nearly as many Americans would lose coverage under the Senate’s bill as the House’s—22 million versus 23 million in the next decade—and that while funding cuts would come more gradually under the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the cuts will be deeper.

GOP policy on health care does not have popular support in any state. Polls put the favorability rating at around 20 percent nationally. Yet, McConnell was adamant about holding a vote today (June 27) … until Republican senators balked under pressure. Dean Heller of Nevada and Susan Collins of Maine said Monday that they’d vote no; McConnell could afford no more defections, and Tuesday three others said they’d delay debating the bill as written. Now, the vote won’t happen until after the July 4 recess.

After the setback, McConnell told reporters that GOP leaders were “still working to get 50 people in a more comfortable place [on] a very complicated subject.” At least 22 million people hope he finds a new place of comfort.

If the American Health Care Act is “mean”—to quote President Trump’s description of it—then the Better Care Reconciliation Act is cruel. Rather than lift off a bandage quickly, it picks at a scab slowly, causing more pain and greater risk of harm. That both bills do so while cutting taxes for the most wealthy, in the face of opposition across party lines, makes this plan all the more objectionable.

Repeal and replace the GOP health plan.