Conservatives Focused on Fixing Obamacare, Not Repealing It

Conservatives Focused on Fixing Obamacare, Not Repealing It joe biden and barack obama clap their hands President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama attend an event to mark the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 5. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 26 April 2022 08:31 AM

Conservative lawmakers no longer are focused on repealing Obamacare should Republicans take control of Congress in this year's midterms and the presidency in 2024, Politico reported.

It appears the possibility of doing away with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came and went when the Senate voted down the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017.

"Obamacare is here to stay, but we believe the law needs major improvements to deliver more personalized care for patients," Dean Clancy, of the libertarian Americans for Prosperity grassroots organization, told Politico.

"We've had success in partially repealing controversial parts."

Items removed from Obamacare have included the Individual Mandate penalty, the Cadillac Tax on high-cost health insurance policies, the Medical Device Tax, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board that could have exercised broad authority to cut Medicare spending, Politico said.

"The most disliked sections that had motivated support for repeal have all been eliminated," National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru told Politico. "The politics of Obamacare changed with the removal of those major pain points."

Now, conservatives prioritize changing ACA and other federal laws to permit more consumer choices to purchase lower cost insurance plans.

"Republicans still believe that ACA premiums are too high, networks are too restrictive, and cost-sharing too burdensome," Doug Badger, who doubles at the Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute, told Politico.

"The subsidies are ill conceived, linked strictly to income and detrimental to people with chronic disease. In most states, exchange-based plans have become a poorly functioning risk pool where the sickest get inadequate coverage that denies them access to the best care."

John Goodman, of the conservative Goodman Institute, is advancing his own "Pro-Patient, Pro-Family Health Reform" plan in partnership with other think tanks including the Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute.

Their 10-point plan would end narrow-provider networks, discourage high deductibles and high premiums, give workers access to personal health insurance, and lots more.

Politico reported that Medicare for senior citizens and many disabled, and Medicaid for low-income households are far less the reform target of Republicans and conservatives than they used to be.

When it comes to the issue of prescription drug costs, there's a difference of GOP opinion.

"There are two wings in the GOP," Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, told Politico.

"What we might call the pro-big-business wing supports the pharmaceutical industry's position that high drug prices are necessary to support innovation. The growing populist wing, led by [former President Donald] Trump, believes that it is important to confront monopoly pricing power on behalf of consumers."

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