The Republicans don’t have an alternative to Obamacare, but they do have a strategy for making sure the death of the ACA works to their political advantage. It is a strategy spelled out most clearly by Rep. Kevin McCarthy but is evident in many of the other stories coming out of Washington DC. It is a strategy based on a few simple steps. It is a strategy that involves using the deaths and suffering of innocent people for political capital. It is disgusting. It is reprehensible. But it is very real.
1. Repeal the ACA. At least everything that can be done with budget reconciliation.
2. Ignore all the warnings about the immediate and substantial damage a repeal without replacement strategy will result in. Hospitals, insurance companies, and a wide variety of other sources have talked about the immediate chaos such a move will bring. Financially it will be a disaster. In human terms people will die and suffer unnecessarily. There will be blood on someone’s hands.
3. Blame all the suffering not on the risky irresponsible way you got rid of the ACA. Tell people it is the result of the ACA itself and the Democrats attempts to defend it. Play innocent and try to put all the blood on Democrats hands.
4. Proclaim in the loudest possible terms your commitment to fixing the problem. Put any delay or problems on the Democrats “not working with you.”
5. By doing this you effectively hold the lives of millions of people people hostage and try to get the Democrats to agree to a plan they would otherwise never agree with you to lest they be blamed as the cause of the unneeded suffering of millions of people.
6. The Republicans get to have their cake and eat it too. The Republicans get to blame the Democrats for the problem and take credit for the “solution” over Democratic intransigence.
The Republican answer will be some version of privatization. They will hold true to the nonsense that if insurance companies make more money everyone will get better insurance. Much of the gains of the last years will be rolled back and particularly with block grants being part of the solution less people will end up with less insurance. And the Republicans will spin the whole ordeal of misery, death and suffering (that could have been avoided) as the triumphs of conservative ideas against the reach of big government and somehow the defense of the freedom for ordinary people. It will be, on the whole, a breathtaking exercise in hypocrisy, political manipulation and complete violence against the most vulnerable people in this country by a party that cares more for its own political self interests than it does for the welfare of this country or the people it claims to serve.
Part of the answer to this is to be loud and be aware. Do not let any step in this go unchallenged. Get involved like your life depends on it. Lives do.