Republican Senator Issues Dire Warning About Being Wiped Out In 2020 Over Healthcare
Republican Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.) has a stark warning for Republicans: Come up with a viable alternative to ObamaCare or face another rout in the 2020 election.
Braun said the GOP’s push to repeal ObamaCare without a plan of their own as one of the primary reasons for the Democratic wave election in 2018.
“What was it, about 55 House seats?,” Braun told The Hill. Republicans lost 40 seats in the 2018 midterm election and Democrats earned a majority in the House for the first time since 2011.
The Indiana senator is worried that Republicans are in for a repeat performance in 2020.
“The whole repeal thing hurts our case about what we’re going to replace it with … [Democrats] have owned the issue pretty well because of the void we’ve created,” Braun said.
Republicans campaigned in 2016 on repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Voters gave Republicans control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, but GOP efforts to repeal the law were a legislative debacle and a political disaster.
“We weren’t prepared with a comprehensive alternative,” Braun said. “We’ve been apologists for the industry.”
President Trump reignited the debate earlier this month when his administration backed a legal effort to dismantle ObamaCare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) split with the president, saying the Senate would not take the issue up again.
Meanwhile, some 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are going all in behind “Medicare for all.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), a leading contender for the Democratic nomination, unveiled a revamped “Medicare for all” bill this week that has the backing of four Senate Democrats who are also running for president.
Braun believes that the proposal could catch on, both for the simplicity of the “Medicare for all” slogan and because the Democrats will be selling it to the public every day between now and the election.
“Democrats are selling something so simple,” Braun said.
“It’s going to resonate everywhere because if you don’t have a credible alternative … we’re going to be probably stumbling around in 2020,” he said.
Braun, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, is batting around new ideas with Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
Their work is still in the very early stages.
Braun says the goal is to at least have the pillars of a plan in place before the 2020 election.
But he said any proposal would have to include the most popular provisions in ObamaCare, including coverage for pre-existing conditions and an allowance for children to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
“We better be putting something together but we’re not ready now and we can’t just leave a void, that you’ll see the details post-election, or we’ll pay the price for it,” Braun said.
“Before 2020 we need to get the principles in place so we can compare it to something concrete rather than just making promises,” he added. “And we need to get rid of the idea of just repealing. A lot of Obamacare is proven that it can’t work because of the cost of it. But the tenants, pre-existing conditions coverage, kids on the plan until you’re 26, that has to stay.”
The comments come after Trump said the GOP would become “the party of health care.” But the president also indicated that any legislation would be brought up for a vote after the election in 2020.
Braun said the 2020 presidential contest is lining up to be a “nailbiter.”
Still, he’s optimistic Trump will hold on to his gains in the Rust Belt and Midwest states that propelled his surprising journey to the White House.
Braun also predicted the Green New Deal and liberal Democratic proposals, such as free university tuition and abolishing the electoral college, would scare off heartland voters.
“I think it’s going to frighten a lot of people,” he said. “It won’t fly in Indiana. I don’t think it will fly in places like Michigan, Wisconsin or even Pennsylvania, where it was looking pretty good for the other side before that.”
You read that right, the Republican Senator believes that free education is a scary thing.
Braun said he’s eager to return the favor by campaigning for the president’s reelection bid in 2020. Trump won Indiana by a hefty margin in 2016.