Two-step Obamacare shuffle: Conservative groups support separate bills for repeal and replace
Two men in a hand shake being ripped

Repeal first: Conservative groups support two-bill Obamacare plan

Posted June 30, 2017 03:06 PM by Chris Pandolfo Two men in a hand shake being ripped
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Americans for Prosperity, a conservative activist organization, has endorsed a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with two separate bills that has been advocated by Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and was embraced by President Trump Friday.

“As Senate Republicans work to fulfill their commitment to reform health care, the two-step approach offered by Senators Paul and Sasse has real merit, and has received support from President Trump,” AFP Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner said in an email press release. “We agree that repealing Obamacare along with its tangled mess of regulations, mandates, and taxes would open up the opportunity to take a more targeted approach to much-needed reforms.

"By providing immediate relief from Obamacare’s downward spiral, Congress would be free to focus on reforms that lower cost, expand access, and move towards a more patient-centered health care system.”

Another conservative group, FreedomWorks, also endorsed the plan to split the bill.

"Virtually every Republican has campaigned on repealing Obamacare for the better part of a decade," FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said in a statement Friday. "In fact, almost every House and Senate Republican voted to repeal most of Obamacare in 2015. This is one aspect of this on which grassroots activists and Republicans agree. We can come back later and work on patient-centered, free market-based replacement provisions."

Earlier this week, Senator Rand Paul said that the Senate had reached an “impasse” on Obamacare repeal. Big government Republicans want to keep Obamacare’s regulations and federal spending, while Conservatives want to see the law repealed root and branch. Placing the repeal in one bill and the federal spending in another is a possible compromise Sen. Paul thinks could break through the logjam.

Appearing on Fox News’ “The Story,” Sen. Paul explained how after Obamacare is repealed, different factions in the Senate would pass elements of a replacement bill that suited their ideological preferences.

“So there would be a repeal bill that I think everybody could vote for. We’d repeal a certain amount of the taxes, a certain amount of the regulations, and we'd also do some Medicaid reform. But then there would be a separate bill for all the people who want more spending programs,” Paul said.

“So some of the moderates in our caucus want more spending. We could put that on a bill — such as the SCHIP, which is a bill that every Democrat in Congress typically supports. And if you separate the bills, I think you can actually get to a passage where you repeal on one bill and you actually have some of the replacement spending on a separate bill.”

Friday morning, Senator Ben Sasse sent a letter to President Trump urging the president to ask Congress to adopt an immediate Obamacare repeal bill and spend the August recess developing a replacement bill that could be voted on by Labor Day.

“On the current path, it looks like Republicans will either fail to pass any meaningful bill at all, or will instead pass a bill that attempts to prop up much of the crumbling ObamaCare structures. We can and must do better than either of these – both because the American people deserve better, and because we promised better,” Sasse wrote.

“Therefore, I write to ask that you call on us to do two things: First, hold all Republicans accountable to our promise to repeal ObamaCare. With only one exception, every member of this Senate majority – moderate and conservative – has explicitly endorsed and/or already voted to repeal ObamaCare, most recently on December 3, 2015. And our newest colleagues, Senators Kennedy and Strange, who were not here at the time of that vote, have also campaigned on promises to repeal this disastrous law. We must keep our word.”

Obamacare remains vastly unpopular. A recent USA Today/Suffolk University Poll found that a plurality of Americans, 44 percent, still support repealing Obamacare. Only 11 percent of registered voters who were polled said that Obamacare should be left alone.

American voters are demanding change. Can this two-bill proposal deliver?


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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.