House minority leader Nany Pelosi (D-CA) on Monday blasted Congressional Republicans over their plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without having a new health care reform platform in place because they know their party doesn’t have a way forward, calling it “an act of cowardice.”
The Republican strategy on Obamacare ― dubbed repeal-and-delay ― is to begin moving filibuster-proof legislation through Congress as soon as lawmakers return this week, and present it to President-elect Donald Trump to sign right after January 20.
But Republicans plan to postpone developing their own health care proposals for up to four years because the party has never been able to agree on what it wants to do instead, according to The Huffington Post.
To Pelosi, this signals that the House GOP leadership knows it faces major obstacles uniting its fractious caucus around what role the federal government should have in creating the conditions for more Americans to obtain affordable health insurance coverage.
“Repeal and delay is an act of cowardice on the part of the Republicans,” she said during a conference call with reporters Monday. “Where are they going to get the votes to replace? If, in fact, ideologically they’re opposed to a public role and any participation in the good health of the American people, where are they going to get the votes, unless they were to act in a bipartisan way?”
The Affordable Care Act has brought the national uninsured rate to a historic low and extended coverage to about 20 million previously uninsured people.
Repeal-and-delay could affect even more Americans, however. If the GOP makes clear to health insurance companies that the Obamacare exchanges will disappear, many are likely to abandon the fragile new marketplaces, leaving consumers with fewer choices and higher prices, according to an analysis by the American Academy of Actuaries.
According to the Urban Institute, as many as 30 million people could lose their health coverage under repeal-and-delay.
GOP leaders now face the daunting task of tackling the thorny issues of health care costs, coverage and access that bedeviled Democrats while legislating and implementing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans also have barely begun sorting through the concerns and interests of hospitals, insurers and others in the health care system regarding another major disruption to the industry.
The GOP also lacks one advantage Democrats have always held: a consensus about the goals of health care reform.
DPelosi and other top congressional Democrats including incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) have called for a “day of action” in support of the Affordable Care Act on Jan. 15. They’ve also asked Democratic lawmakers to stage events around the country opposing an Obamacare repeal, along with GOP proposals to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Additionally, Obama plans to visit Capitol Hill Wednesday to rally congressional Democrats ahead of the Affordable Care Act repeal fight, according to HuffPost.