Jan 6, 2017

Obama to GOP: If you have a better health plan, I'll support it

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

President Obama, in a twist on what he's said before: "I am saying to every Republican right now: If you can in fact put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what Obamacare is doing, I will publicly support repealing Obamacare and replacing it with your plan. But I want to see it first."

Of course, that's not the Republican plan — leadership is still pushing repeal-and-delay. But Obama, in an interview with Vox, made a strong case for why that's a bad idea, and what he thinks should happen with health care going forward.

  • On why Obamacare is still unpopular: "In the dissatisfied column are a whole bunch of Bernie sanders supporters who want a single-payer plan."
  • On repealing Obamacare immediately: "It's really interesting to try to figure out – why are [Republicans] trying to rush the repeal so quick? What is it they're afraid of?"
  • What he's implying: All Republican plans to date leave less people covered than Obamacare, and several raise out-of-pocket costs for individuals. Instead, GOP plans lower the cost to the government. But that's not what voters have said they want.
  • On who owns health care problems now, which is a hot topic of debate on the Hill: "The Republicans, yes, will own the problems with the health care system if they choose to repeal something that is providing health insurance to a lot of people and providing benefits to every American…and they haven't shown us what it is they want to do."
  • What Obama has advised Trump: "Make your team and make the Republican members of Congress come up with things that they can show will actually make this work better for people."
  • What could make Obamacare better: Bigger subsidies and a public option. But, Obama said, that's basically the opposite of what Republicans are proposing.

Why this matters: Obama is still the president and gets a lot of attention. Repealing without a replacement ready is already unpopular, and he might have gotten some nervous voters thinking.

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