Pelosi rips GOP for 'cut-and-run' strategy on ObamaCare

Pelosi rips GOP for 'cut-and-run' strategy on ObamaCare
© Greg Nash
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is going after the GOP's "repeal-and-replace" ObamaCare strategy by offering a cheeky moniker of her own.
 
"I call it the 'cut-and-run' approach," she said Thursday. 
 
"Cut the benefits and run away from it; cut the access to Medicaid and run away from it; cut the advantages to Medicare, and run away from it."
 
Pelosi emphasized that she has no special insights into Republicans' plans to make good on their repeal vow, which was central to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE’s successful campaign. But the notion that GOP leaders can repeal and replace ObamaCare "essentially simultaneously," as Trump vowed Wednesday, is a fantasy, she said.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
" 'Repeal and replace' has only alliteration going for it," she charged. "It's alliterative, but it's not realistic, and they don't have the votes to do that in the manner they say they will: repeal and replace in one fell swoop." 
 
The charges are just the latest salvo in the Democrats' effort to defend President Obama's signature domestic achievement from the Republicans' push to eliminate the law as one of their first acts of 2017.
 
Senate Republicans on early Thursday morning passed a budget resolution that sets the stage for a repeal vote, and the House is poised to follow suit Friday. 
 
Yet almost every element of the replacement strategy — including the timing of a vote, the timing of implementation, and the policy details for maintaining coverage while cutting costs — remain nebulous.
 
Trump on Wednesday provided few answers, but suggested the process will move quickly.
 
"It'll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially simultaneously," Trump said during an animated press conference in New York. "It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. 
 
"Could be the same hour."
 
Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNew Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders House Dem: Party's aging leaders is 'a problem' Rand Paul to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday described the process in only the broadest strokes. He said the Republicans will pursue "a thoughtful, step-by-step process" — not the simultaneous replacement suggested by Trump — but also maintained that GOP leaders and the president-elect are "completely in sync" on a strategy. 
 
"The pillars that we stand upon with replacing ObamaCare — more choices, more options, lower prices and more control over your own health care — those are the things that we all believe in," Ryan told reporters in the Capitol. 
 
A few hours later and one floor down, Pelosi and other liberal Democrats offered a markedly different view, describing a Republican Party that's delusional in thinking it can repeal the law's revenue streams, particularly the provision requiring people to buy insurance or pay a financial penalty, while keeping the popular benefits intact.
 
"They have had six years to come up with something, and they've come up with exactly nothing," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). 
 
"And that's because when they start saying, 'Oh, we like the preexisting condition part of it, and we like having the young people on their parents' policies, and we like, and we like, and we like' — and by the time you're done, you have ObamaCare."
 
Pelosi was quick to note that the individual mandate at the center of ObamaCare was modeled on a proposal championed years ago by the conservative Heritage Foundation, then adopted by Mitt Romney when he was the governor of Massachusetts. The idea was to hinge medical care to the concept of personal responsibility. 
 
"No free riders; everybody had to pitch in," Pelosi said. "Myself, I'm [for] single-payer. [The] mandate is what enables us to do so many things, and that is a Republican principle."
 
Pelosi declined to weigh in on the Democrats' own strategy, citing the absence of details surrounding the Republicans' plan. But she said she's hopeful that GOP leaders, perhaps facing constituent pressures, will have second thoughts about gutting ObamaCare's central tenets. 
 
"I am the last person to ask about what the Republicans will do. … I don't think they have any idea," Pelosi said. 
 
"But I do hope that we can find a place to save the principles and the value of the Affordable Care Act in a way that has results and is practical, rather than being tied to an ideological [message]."