Kaiser checks in on public opinion:
Barro points out that only “29% of Republicans favor replacing Obamacare with a Republican alternative to Obamacare”:
Republicans spent the last two election cycles hammering Democrats for cutting Medicare. Now they are hammering the president for not letting everyone keep their old plans if they like them. The de-facto Republican health policy platform is a defense of the pre-Obamacare status quo, period, and Republican base voters are with them.
But Jonathan Bernstein argues that going back to the old system isn’t an option:
No one is ever going to kick young adults off their parents’ insurance (or change the law so that insurance companies are allowed to do it). No one is going to bring back the various limitations in pre-ACA insurance policies. Some trimming of the new Medicaid rolls might be possible. But no one — no politician who has to face reelection, at least – is going to just toss all those people off their insurance with nothing to replace it.
Beyond all this is simply the Humpty Dumpty-ness of the situation: The old system has been slowly pushed off the wall for three years now, and by this point it’s really beyond repair, whatever the merits or politics of the situation.
Kilgore chimes in:
I won’t go as far as Jonathan and say that the idea of repealing Obamacare is “dead.” His recitation of what no politician with a brain would do reminds me a lot of all those confident predictions (not by him, but by many others) that no state political leadership would be stupid or benighted or ideological enough to turn down the Medicaid expansion. And there’s also the possibility that Republicans, if they were in a position to do so, would repeal Obamacare and then quickly re-enact some of the easier and more popular provisions, like the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies.