For years, Republicans promised to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. But although several replace plans were drawn up, the GOP never rallied around any of them. Now, with Obamacare's coverage expansion kicked in, the party seems increasingly unable to reckon with the prospect of repeal.
For example, here's Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich talking about the Medicaid expansion.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn't think there will be a repeal in Washington, even if Republicans win a Senate majority and consolidate their hold on the House in next month's election.
"That's not gonna happen," the Republican governor told The Associated Press during a recent re-election campaign swing.
Kasich called The Associated Press Monday night to clarify that he was speaking specifically about a repeal of Medicaid expansion and not of the entire Affordable Care Act—although opponents in Washington don't usually draw such distinctions.
He said he believes the ACA "can and should" be repealed, but that opposition to the Medicaid expansion "was really either political or ideological," adding, "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people's lives."
(Side note here: People on Medicaid like it, but the best evidence is that it doesn't do much if anything to improve one's measurable physical health outcomes.)
More from Kasich, via Politico:
"I have favored expanding Medicaid, but I don't really see expanding Medicaid as really connected to Obamacare," he said.
Yes, the Supreme Court changed Obamacare's Medicaid expansion to make it optional for states, and yes, Medicaid existed as a jointly run and funded federal-state program before Obamacare was passed. But the Medicaid expansion Kasich is talking about is very much a part of Obamacare.
And yet Kasich continues to insist that the law should be repealed and that he doesn't support it at all, never has.
"From Day One, and up until today and into tomorrow, I do not support Obamacare," Kasich said yesterday, according to Politico. "I never have, and I believe it should be repealed."
So repeal Obamacare…just not this one part that is affecting people here in my state.
This is why it was so important to have a replacement plan, some alternative, or even just an explanation, ready. The question of what to do and what to say after the coverage expansion kicked in was never answered, or at least not answered effectively, and the result is clear enough. We see some Republicans refusing to answer questions about Medicaid; we see Kasich claiming that Medicaid isn't really part of Obamacare and should be saved; and we see Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) arguing that Kentucky's exchange, which doles out subsidies funded by Obamacare, is not really part of the law either. Republicans don't know what to do, because they didn't come up with a plan in advance.