President Obama is now in the home stretch of his Presidency, but rather than relief and celebration, his last days have played out under the pallor of watching Republicans seize on rolling back his eight years in office.
At the forefront of the President’s achievements is the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare,” a title Republicans branded the ACA with to rally support around repeal and replacement of the sweeping healthcare law).
Since 2010, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has voted dozens of times to repeal the law, but it never had enough support in the U.S. Senate to make the repeal a reality without overcoming a Presidential veto.
Up until now, President Obama has been clear. He would never veto his signature domestic accomplishment. But with President-elect Donald Trump on the verge of taking over, his tune is softening.
— Linda Suhler, Ph.D. (@LindaSuhler) January 5, 2017
In a recent interview with the left-leaning news site Vox, President Obama said he actually would support repeal of ObamaCare, but that support is conditional.
The interview was conducted through video. You can watch it here if you have an extra 2 hours, 2 minutes to spare. Yahoo News has made things easier for the time-compressed by providing a transcription, so a tip of the hat to them.
In the interview with Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff, President Obama says, “I am saying to every Republican right now, if you in fact can put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what ObamaCare is doing, I will publicly support repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with your plan. But I want to see it first.”
The chances of President Obama actually following through that are not likely. For starters, Republicans would have to reveal their replacement. So far, they haven’t, a source of frustration for some GOP leaders in the Senate.
Leaders like Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul, who has publicly stated in a recent op-ed for Rare.US that “no one is a fan of ‘repeal and delay,'” adding, “if Congress fails to vote on a replacement at the same time as repeal, the repealers risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of ObamaCare.”
Other GOP leaders like Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Maine Senator Susan Collins have affirmed the Paul position.
The reason replacement is so imperative as part of the GOP’s “repeal ObamaCare” strategy is that there are now approximately 30 million more Americans with some form of health insurance.
“Repeal and delay” would leave these individuals out in the proverbial cold until a replacement could be decided, but in the meantime, it would make the new party of power vulnerable at both the executive and congressional levels.
The Republicans’ majority in the Senate is tenuous, and any shifts not in their favor in the 2018 midterms would effectively neutralize President Trump and the GOP agenda.
As for President Obama, he shared some ideas of how Republicans might be able to get rid of ObamaCare while also taking credit.
“They could rename the Affordable Care Act ‘TrumpCare,’ ‘McConnellCare’ or ‘RyanCare,'” President Obama said. “I don’t have pride of authorship on this thing.”
“If they can come up with something better, I’m for it. And I would advise every Democrat to be for it,” he said.
— Rare (@Rare) January 3, 2017
While President Obama did not seem convinced that could happen, the law does have plenty of detractors with polls showing a majority of Americans, 54 percent to be exact, disapprove of the law, and the impact it has had on their lives, per U.S. News and World Report, but a more recent poll also shows that most don’t want repeal without replacement already established, per Forbes.
But what do you think, readers?
Should President Obama ever support an ObamaCare repeal? Sound off in the comments section below.