The Hill reports that Obamacare replacement has taken yet another hit:
The chairman of the influential Republican Study Committee said Monday he would vote against a draft ObamaCare replacement bill that leaked last week. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), head of the 172-member committee, said Monday his opposition stems from the draft bill’s use of refundable tax credits.
“There are serious problems with what appears to be our current path to repeal and replace Obamacare. The draft legislation, which was leaked last week, risks continuing major Obamacare entitlement expansions and delays any reforms,” Walker said in a statement Monday.
Refundable tax credits are the mechanism for funding the Republican replacement plan. So what Walker is saying is that he opposes any plan that spends money.
The only alternative, of course, is a plan that costs nothing, which would be suicidal for Republicans. Even Donald Trump couldn’t bluster his way into convincing people that a zero-dollar plan would help them compared to what they have now.
Republicans are really truly in a pickle. Here are their options:
- Leave Obamacare alone. This would obviously enrage their base.
- Repeal Obamacare and propose a replacement acceptable to conservatives. This would be so obviously useless that everyone outside their base would be enraged.
- Repeal Obamacare with no replacement. But since Republicans can only repeal parts of Obamacare while leaving other parts alone, this runs the risk of imploding the entire individual insurance market. That would be an electoral disaster.
It’s no wonder that Paul Ryan feels so backed into a corner that his latest “strategy” is to bull through a repeal-and-delay bill—and then dare anyone in the GOP caucus to vote against it. It’s a desperate ploy that’s bound to both fail and to piss off a lot of his fellow Republicans in the process. But what choice does he have? He has to pretend to do something.