Obama doubts GOP can come up with better version of healthcare reform

Barack Obama gives ACA speech
Now is the time for Republicans to lay out their plan for an ACA replacement, President Barack Obama said Friday.

President Barack Obama has a simple message for Republicans who are gearing up to repeal the Affordable Care Act: If you come up with something to replace the law that works better, “I’m for it.”

But so far, Obama has seen mostly campaign-driven rhetoric from his political opponents rather than workable solutions, he said in an interview on Friday with Vox.

“Now is the time when Republicans, I think, have to go ahead and show their cards,” he said, adding that if they came come up with a program that would “genuinely work better” than the ACA, “I will be the first one to say, ‘great, you should’ve told me that back in 2009; I asked.’”

Amid heated rhetoric about the healthcare law this week from both parties, Senate Republicans introduced a resolution that would pave the way for dismantling the law through budget reconciliation.

Also this week, the Republican Study Committee floated a replacement bill based on previously introduced legislation from Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.—though it has not been endorsed by GOP leadership. For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Thursday that Republicans are planning to come up with a replacement bill this year.

The concept of repealing the law and then replacing it, however, has drawn concern from both Democratic lawmakers and healthcare industry groups alike. Indeed, Obama wrote in a New England Journal of Medicine op-ed published Friday that “this approach of ‘repeal first and replace later’ is, simply put, irresponsible.”

In fact, given the challenging task of overhauling healthcare, Republicans are likely to have a hard time making good on their promises to offer everyone better coverage at a lower cost, Obama predicted.  

“This is why the strategy of repeal first and replace later is just a huge disservice to the American people and is something that, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, you should be opposed to,” he said.