Replacing Obamacare Would Be Tough

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 23 2015 @ 4:45pm

Dougherty urges the GOP to come up with a real Obamacare alternative:

If Republicans want to avoid the fate of other center-right parties in Europe that become mere budget-fixers on national health systems, they have to be much more united on their strategy than they are now. A gigantic GOP-led reform could lead to the same electoral disasters that befell Democrats after they passed the ACA, and fear of losing power could easily translate into a drift towards single-payer. ObamaCare required the incredible courage of President Obama, as well as many of his more awkward and embarrassing legislative buyouts, like the Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase. Republicans are going to need a president and legislative leadership with at least as much mettle as he had.

But Ezra doesn’t think Republicans are up for it:

[U]pheaval in the health-care system typically makes for terrible politics. Democrats learned that the hard way with the Affordable Care Act. Republicans would likely learn it double if they made a serious effort to repeal, replace, or overhaul Obamacare. This is the central problem for conservative health reformers: because Republicans don’t care that much about health reform and because so much of what health reform demands offends conservative sensibilities or constituencies, the party doesn’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to unite behind an alternative to Obamacare, much less actually pass and implement it.