Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 28, 2014

WEEKLY WRAP: Replacing ACA a hard sell; open primaries needed

Replacing ACA a difficult sell

“Repeal and replace.”

That has been the Republican mantra since President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010.

The “repeal” part is not a problem for the GOP, at least in the House, where Republicans vote to repeal the law almost as often as the chaplain gives the daily invocation.

If Republicans pick up six Senate seats in November, giving them a majority, repealing it shouldn’t be a problem there, either.

The stumbling block — and why Republicans may be reluctant to force a repeal vote in the Senate even with a majority — is that they have nothing to replace it with, more than two months after the party’s leadership promised to have an alternative plan ready for a vote.

Pressed on why there is no Republican bill to rally around, GOP congressional leaders are telling their members they are waiting for a “consensus” to build. At this rate, it could be a long wait.

The drop-dead date for a vote on a replacement bill in the House is July 31. Congress is gone all of August. September and October will be devoted to campaigning and, in any case, Congress plans to be in session just 12 days during those two months.

And, once the congressional elections are held Nov. 4, it’s tough to get a lame-duck Congress to do anything.

Moreover, time appears to be running out on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Where once it seemed nothing could go right for the law, Obamacare now seems on a roll.

The president made a special appearance before the White House press corps to hail the fact that 8 million citizens had signed up under the act, well above the White House’s arbitrary goal for success of 7 million. The administration is stockpiling heartwarming anecdotes about people the act has helped.

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