Are Republicans Bending On ‘Obamacare’?
Rep. Allen West (R-FL)
SAHIL KAPUR MAY 28, 2012, 12:31 PM 18681
As the landmark Supreme Court decision looms next month, Republicans have been privately considering a plan to reinstate some popular provisions of “Obamacare” if it’s struck down.
The revelation sent conservative advocates — who have demanded nothing less than total repeal — into a tizzy, which forced House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to reaffirm his commitment to “repealing Obamacare in its entirety,” declaring that “[a]nything short of that is unacceptable.”
But more evidence is emerging that Republicans believe that’s not tenable.
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a tea party darling, told ThinkProgress that he supports preserving three popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act — the same three that his party’s leaders are reportedly considering.
“You’ve got to replace it with something,” West said. “If people want to keep their kid on insurance at 26, fine. We’ve got to make sure no American gets turned back for pre-existing conditions, that’s fine. Keep the doughnut hole closed, that’s fine. But what I just talked to you about — maybe 20, 25 pages of legislation.”
This underscores the GOP’s no-win predicament and helps explain why the party has no replacement plan years after promising one. If they successfully gut “Obamacare” and leave it at that, they’ll face the blame for snatching away its popular benefits. But if they push to keep parts of the law, they’ll face the wrath of powerful conservative groups, which have repeatedly proven their clout at purging Republican lawmakers who buck the right’s demands.
“We would be very concerned about bills to resurrect parts of Obamacare,” said Dean Clancy, the top health care advocate for the influential conservative group FreedomWorks.
A Republican health care aide said members of his party recognize the dilemma.
“I do think some Republicans are finally starting to realize they could be the dog that caught the car,” the aide said.