Many GOP candidates are campaigning against the Affordable Care Act, telling voters that they plan to do away with it entirely if Republicans are able to maintain control of Congress in November.
The problem, says Politico’s Burgess Everett, is that several key components of Obamacare – particularly the protections for pre-existing conditions – are extremely popular with voters across the political spectrum, and Republicans haven’t explained how they will get rid of Obamacare while keeping some its provisions.
Several senators said that the party is not ready to handle a repeal, which could become an issue soon if a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the ACA is successful. “It may be good to have an exit strategy and I’m not sure there’s one in place,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Susan Collins (R-ME) identified a problem that is likely to get worse in the wake of the election: the inability of the two parties to work together to pass meaningful legislation. “I do not have confidence that Congress could put together a bipartisan bill and get it done,” Collins said.
Sam Baker of Axios summed up the situation this way: “Republicans, as a whole, have never figured out how to reconcile their desire to lower premiums and reduce federal mandates with the fact that protections for pre-existing conditions are extremely popular.”