The Republican Party is increasingly embracing the policies of Obamacare, even if they still don’t like the word.
Last week I pointed out that despite all the continued heated rhetoric surrounding health care, lots of people who don’t like the word “Obamacare” or president Obama are none the less signing up for the law. More evidence appeared this week in the form of a new health care proposal rolled out by Republican senators Tom Coburn, Richard Burr, and Orrin Hatch.
The new Republican plan contains references to “repealing Obamacare” of course, but here’s the interesting part, their replacement contains many of Obamacare’s major policy features. As Slate’s Matt Yglesias put it:
Of course, in its official operations the way the bill works is to first repeal Obamacare and then replace it with a new law that happens to retain some of Obamacare’s most popular features. For example, “insurers would be barred from imposing lifetime limits on medical claims and required to allow individuals to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26.” And rather than eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on insurers charging older people higher premiums than younger people, the senators would simply make the restrictions a bit less strict. And while Coburn/Burr/Hatch don’t want to altogether ban insurers from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions, they “would require insurers to offer coverage to anybody who has applied as long as they have maintained continuous coverage, regardless of whether they are switching health plans or shifting from employer-based health care to the individual market.”
In other words, rather than scrapping the main pillars of the Affordable Care Act entirely, they would partially roll them back.
Now let me be clear here, conservatives and GOP politicians will still be embracing the rhetoric of repeal for quite some time and few if any will announce they’ve changed their minds and embrace they term “Obamacare” in the near future. But at the same time more and more Republican politicians will embrace the policy features of Obamacare, although they may want to change the details about features, regardless of what rhetorical stances they take. Hence why mainstreamed conservatives like Tom Coburn are embracing major facets of the president’s health care law when it comes to things like the system of lifetime caps under the old system.
Since the Obamacare system is now very much the status quo, future battles will be about changing that status quo, going back to the old system circa 2009 is pretty much impossible, and quite frankly it has been for quite some time.
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