Congressional Republicans’ quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, just couldn’t get across the finish line in 2017. After its proposed replacement, the American Health Care Act, barely passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 217 to 213 on May 3 of that year, the Senate’s version died an unceremonious death two months later.

Unfazed by the defeat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, announced his chamber would move straight to a repeal only bill, with no replacement in sight. That idea was quickly quashed by his fellow senators, who maintained they would not even support bringing this idea to the floor.

President Donald Trump has an answer, sort of. Monday, the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to invalidate Obamacare.

Here we go again.

Republicans have had nine years to come up with a plan, and all they’ve come up with is the word “no.” And that was only when they knew the head of the executive branch would veto any repeal of Obamacare. In 2017, they had control of all three branches of government and they still couldn’t decide what to do. They were the proverbial dog that had caught the car.

Simply letting nearly one-fifth of the economy fail without a proposal to replace it isn’t a workable plan. Real people will be hurt.

According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service, these are the numbers of residents in our coverage area who acquired insurance through the ACA marketplace as of Feb. 1, 2019: 376 in Carroll County, 583 in Cass County, 476 in Clinton County, 1,050 in Howard County, 551 in Miami County and 309 in Tipton County. Are 3,345 of our friends and neighbors just supposed to cross their fingers and hope Indiana’s federal lawmakers and their colleagues will keep the president from taking their health care?

What needs to happen now is what’s needed to happen for years: Republicans and Democrats are going to have to work on a plan to repair the ACA. That’s going to mean expending resources and compromising on all sides. No one said this law is perfect, but the GOP working alone had no other alternative. So, let’s work it out.

Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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