The ugly truth for the GOP: Obamacare is too good to repeal

I wish they’d say it, but they don’t need to. They’ve made it abundantly clear by repeatedly highlighting what the country would lose if Obamacare is scrapped.

It’s not just that the GOP health care bill is flawed. It’s that it’s worse than Obamacare.

The “concerns” voiced by Republican senators about the loss of Medicaid funding or reduced subsidies for those buying insurance amount to an admission that Obamacare improved the U.S. health care system.

There are of course a few hardliners –– Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee –– who are opposing the GOP health bill for different reasons. But even their opposition demonstrates my point. They bemoan that the bill is “Obamacare Light.” They are right. That’s exactly why the more moderate members of the GOP caucus can’t support it. They know it’s just a less generous version of Obamacare that will result in the loss of health coverage for millions of poor and middle class Americans.

Obamacare is not without its share of problems. It is severely limited by the fact that it operates within a dysfunctional, overpriced private health care system. In addition, it has been the repeated victim of GOP sabotage: Republican governors refused to accept the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid, Congressional Republicans have sued to halt cost-sharing payments to insurers that help defray the cost of insurance for low-income consumers and Marco Rubio slipped an obscure provision into a spending bill that blocked the “risk corridor” payments that ACA insurers (including a number of non-profit co-ops) were counting on.

While nobody in their right mind believed Donald Trump when he promised a plan that would “take care of everybody” for “a fraction of the cost,” there likely were reasonable people who actually believed other Republicans when they said there was a better way than Obamacare that would offer better access and lower prices.

Unless we want to start the conversation about single-payer, there is no other plan. Health care is expensive and millions of Americans don’t have the money to pay for it. So the government has stepped in to help people them out. The GOP bill simply proposes to reduce the amount of help. Fortunately, a number of Republicans recognize that that would be disastrous, both morally and politically.

A number of conservatives have opposed Obamacare fiercely not necessarily because they believed it would actually harm the health care system, but because they believed that it would benefit millions of people and permanently change the public’s perception of health care from being a privilege to a right. This summer, Republicans are coming to the grim conclusion that that prediction held up.