Here's Why Republicans Have No Alternative To Obamacare

Today, the Kaiser Family Foundation has a new poll out about the Affordable Care Act, and as usual the numbers are mixed. 47% of respondents say they want to keep or expand the law. 37% want to repeal it, with or without a Republican replacement.

But here’s the really alarming figure for Republicans who say they favour alternative approaches to improving the health care system. Only 13% said they favour repeal and replacement with a Republican alternative, even though Republicans’ mantra has been “repeal and replace” for years. 24% say Obamacare should be repealed and not replaced at all.

Only 29% of Republicans favour replacing Obamacare with a Republican alternative to Obamacare.

Conservative columnist Philip Klein has a smart piece today for the Washington Examiner, warning his side against Schadenfreude over President Obama’s broken “if you like your health plan, you can keep it” promise.

The kinds of health reform plans that conservative wonks favour will also force many people to change health plans — because the problems with America’s health care system today are inextricably linked to badly designed health plans. Reinforcing the expectation that reform shouldn’t mean having to change your plan will make it harder for conservative reformers to promote their own plans.

But Klein’s message is lost on his side. The constituency for Republican health reform plans consists of Klein and a few dozen people who work for conservative think tanks.

Back in the real world, Republicans spent the last two election cycles hammering Democrats for cutting Medicare. Now they are hammering the president for not letting everyone keep their old plans if they like them. The de-facto Republican health policy platform is a defence of the pre-Obamacare status quo, period, and Republican base voters are with them.

The Schadenfreude is a problem for Klein, but it’s perfectly strategic for actual Republican politicians, who do not care at all about improving the health care system.

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