Back on January 12th, 8 days before Trump even officially moved into the White House, the prospects of a quick repeal and replacement of Obamacare were looking really good when the Senate voted 51-48 to instruct key committees to start drafting legislation to do away with Obama's crowning "achievement". In fact, that early January budget resolution required lawmakers to submit repeal proposals for consideration by January 27th, a lofty goal, but welcome news to conservative voters around the country that were eager for a quick unwind of the controversial legislation.
Alas, today, nearly a full month after the original deadline of January 27th, no replacement plan has been officially introduced and even Trump admits "maybe it will take till sometime into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process...it's very complicated."
But, at least according to comments made by John Boehner at a healthcare conference earlier today, the reason for the delay in the repeal and replacement of Obamacare isn't that complicated at all and revolves around the GOP's inability to reach a consensus on the key components of a replacement bill. Per Politico:
On Thursday, Boehner said the talk in November about lightning-fast passage of a new health care framework was wildly optimistic.
Boehner, who resigned in 2015 amid unrest among conservatives, said at an Orlando health care conference that the idea that a repeal-and-replace plan would blitz through Congress is just “happy talk.”
“[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said.
“I started laughing,” he said. “Republicans never ever agree on health care.”
Meanwhile, for those hoping for a full repeal no matter the timeline, Boehner warns that several key components of Obamacare, including insurance coverage for 'kids' up to age 26, required coverage for people with preexisting conditions and subsidies for low-income families are unlikely to go away under a Republican plan.
"Most of the Affordable Care Act, the framework, is going to stay there."
"Coverage for kids up to age 26, covering those with preexisting conditions, all of that's going to be there. Subsidies for those who can't afford it, who aren't on Medicaid, who I call the working poor, subsidies for them will be there."
"But what will be different is that CMS will not dictate to every state exactly how the plan is going to run. And if the state wants to run an exchange, the state can run an exchange. The states will control the policies that are offered like they control every other insurance product offered in their state."
But while the ultimate high-level terms of an Obamacare replacement plan shouldn't be too difficult to predict, Boehner says that in his 25 years in Washington D.C. "Republicans never, ever, not one time agreed on what a healthcare proposal should look like."
"So this is not all that hard to figure out. Except this, in the 25 years I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, not one time agreed on what a healthcare proposal should look like. Not once."
"And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal...if you pass repeal without replace, you'll never pass replace because they will never agree on what the bill should be. The perfect always becomes the enemy of the good."
Perhaps Trump is now learning why politicians are "all talk"...even the guys playing for the same team can't seem to reach consensus on pretty much anything.