The Washington Post has obtained a secret recording of a closed-door meeting between Republican lawmakers – and it reveals them expressing serious doubts about how they are going to live up to their promises to the American people of getting rid of Obamacare, while at the same time initiating a replacement without creating chaos.
In the recording, a number of concerns were raised, but chief among them was how they were going to do this in a way that wouldn’t hurt them when the next election comes up.
We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
What’s most striking about the conversations, however, was that key Republicans admitted that they didn’t know what to do as far as a replacement plan is concerned.
They discussed how to prepare a plan — a plan that they should have already figured out. Keep in mind — they have been talking about repeal and replace for quite a long time now, but they still don’t seem to have their agenda sorted out.
According to the Post, they are still determining how to avoid damage to the health insurance market, how to keep premiums affordable, and how to get away with defunding Planned Parenthood without it hurting them politically. Congressman John Faso (R-N.Y.) touched on this latest point:
We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill,” he said. “If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.”
The recording took part during a Republican Party policy retreat in Philadelphia. It’s not sure who sent the recording to the Post yet. It was sent to several news outlets from an anonymous email address. The Post took the extra step of confirming the recording by calling their offices, though, and it is legit.
The fact is, we cannot repeal Obamacare through reconciliation,” said McClintock in the meeting. “We need to understand exactly, what does that reconciliation market look like? And I haven’t heard the answer yet.”
Rep. Tom MacArthur even expressed Democratic sentiment, and agreed with the notion that the GOP’s plan would eliminate health coverage for 20 million Americans, even those covered under Medicaid:
We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”
Republicans promised their voters that they would replace Obamacare immediately and are trying to take steps to do that – but the truth is they can’t. Speaker Paul Ryan has already stated that they won’t repeal without a replacement plan. This recording proves they aren’t even close to establishing a way forward yet.
Featured Image via Getty Images.