Conservatives Fret Amid Shift to 'Repair and Replace'
Push to repeal slows down dramatically on Capitol HIll
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2017 10:53 AM CST
President Trump speaks during a meeting with county sheriffs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – How goes President Trump's plan to immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare? It seems to be getting gummed up in the realities of DC politics. Trump himself acknowledged Sunday in an interview on Fox News that things might stretch into 2018. "It's very complicated," he said. "I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year." Related coverage:

  • In a story about the delays, the New York Times notes the shift among some GOP lawmakers from "replace" to "repair," and points out that lawmakers are facing angry crowds of people worried about losing coverage at town hall meetings—"the mirror image of 2009, when Tea Party activists assailed Democrats who supported the law."

  • With this shift toward "repair," the Wall Street Journal reports on growing friction from conservative Republicans in the House worried about losing momentum. The 40 members of the Freedom Caucus are agitating to push ahead with immediate repeal, which they see as the necessary first step.
  • The Journal story has this quote from Heritage Foundation exec Dan Holler: “House action is sort of imperative to get this kick-started and going. I think the longer this drags on, the more people are starting to understand the chance of a repeal is slipping away. Certainly it’s becoming harder and harder with each passing day.”
  • But more important than timing are the tough decisions Republicans must make on substance, writes Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post. Among them: "If they are determined to get rid of the individual mandate, are they willing to defend near-universal 'access' instead of near-universal coverage?" Full column here.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan promises progress, though he avoids a time frame in this update of what's happening on Capitol Hill.
  • Supporters of the Affordable Care Act should avoid gloating, cautions an analysis at CNN. Remember that Trump already signed an executive order aimed at undercutting the law, and while Congress may seem to be softening on going further, the repair vs. replace shift may be mere semantics. "The risks to the program are very real in the coming months," writes Julian Zelizer. "Rather than listening to what Republicans are saying, Democrats would be better served to watch what they are actually doing." Full column here.

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