Republicans’ Attempts At Obamacare Replacement Stall

The GOP push to replace Obamacare is stuck in neutral, with Republicans deeply fractured over what to do and fearful of giving President Obama and his Democratic allies an easy target ahead of November’s elections.

House Republican leaders vowed earlier this year to craft and vote on a bold proposal to fulfill the second part of its repeal-and-replace approach to Obamacare. But those plans have been derailed by rank-and-file lawmakers who say they want to see tweaks, but don’t want to vote on sweeping alternatives.

But Republicans say doing a broad replacement has become tougher after the immigration debate in the Senate last year, which made “comprehensive” a dirty word in GOP circles.

Republicans also fear that writing a specific plan will give Mr. Obama the chance to switch from defense to offense, particularly if the GOP comes up with a plan that costs less, but does not insure as many people as Obamacare.

“It is absolutely frustrating,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said. “But, essentially, elections don’t lend themselves to pragmatic policy development.”

In the Senate, legislative aides said Republicans are reluctant to expend energy on an alternative that will be ignored by Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. Instead, they said a more practical method is to file amendments to scrap the medical device tax or other parts of the law before putting Mr. Obama’s veto pen to test by retaking the chamber in November.

Republican lawmakers said the law cannot be fixed and should be scrapped, but many realize their hopes for repeal are moot until control of the White House changes hands.

Read more from Tom Howell Jr. at The Washington Times

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