Republican lawmakers are breathing a sigh of relief that the Trump administration backed away from seeking an immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, and instead will take the issue on the 2020 campaign trail.
“I was disappointed when we were talking about repeal only without a credible plan to replace,” Indiana Sen. Mike Braun (R) told CBN News. “We need to now as conservatives start talking about what are we going to do.”
President Trump surprised many in his own party when he declared that Republicans would be the party of health care, prompting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to tell him this week he had no plans of taking up comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic-controlled House.
“I made clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate,” McConnell told reporters.”He did say, as he later tweeted, that he accepted that and he would be developing a plan that he would take to the American people during the 2020 campaign.”
McConnell says he wants Senate Republicans focusing on bills to keep health care costs down, not comprehensive replacement plans and Sen. Braun agrees.
“I think the right decision was made to make sure we get our ducks in a row, throw the onus on the industry in the meantime, have senators and congressmen that know a little bit about it like me to start prodding the industry, because I think it’s going to take more than their own self-correction,” Braun told CBN News.
Braun described his own issues dealing with health insurance companies while trying to find a plan for his employers.
“It was like pulling teeth to get the solution, that they had the nerve to say you’re lucky it’s only going up 5% this year and then 10% next year, I found a way to solve that,” said Braun.
And he calls out his own party for being longtime “apologists for health care,” adding it’s time for Republicans to come up with their own solutions to the growing costs.
“I think all Hoosiers, Americans are frustrated with health care as it’s being delivered by a so-called free market industry. The fact is it’s not, its got highly concentrated with big companies running the show and I think its incumbent on the industry if it doesn’t want one business partner with the federal government to start doing a better job,” said Braun. “I am going to try and help promote that through price transparency bills, bills that would take generics from discussion to the marketplace more quickly, those kinds of things.”
Braun told President Trump he’d work with him on a replacement plan but is glad they have time to think through it.
“As long as that doesn’t mean we’re going to lay low and let the Democrats kind of control the dialogue,” continued Braun. “What I’m going to do is work on lowering the cost, making it more transparent and take that approach. Somewhere down the road, it’s going to be the alternative that the other side is offering which sounds so enticing.”
“Medicare for all, I think we’d regret it because first of all it costs so much already, running deficits to where we don’t pay for the government we’re already demanding,” he explained. “So I think they’ve got a lot that we can hit to where how’s that going to work? It’s not going to pan out. On the other hand, we’ve got to devise a system if we want to save the system. It’s got to shrink. It’s got to get better. It’s got to offer us better value. That means to solve the problems and lower the prices.”
But Democrats say Republicans have no health care plan of their own.
“The president tweeted that they will come up with their plan in 2021. Translation: they have no health care plan. It’s the same old song they’ve been singing, they’re for repeal, they have no replace,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).