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September 18, 2013 11:26 AM Big Reveal Today On Obamacare Replacement!

By Ed Kilgore

Ooooh the mystery and drama of it all is consuming me:

While the House GOP continues to grapple with how to defund or delay Obamacare in a continuing resolution or debt ceiling deal, the conservative Republican Study Committee is preparing to unveil its bill to fully replace the 2010 health law.
At a news conference set for Wednesday, RSC Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana and RSC Health Care Working Group Chairman Phil Roe of Tennessee will roll out their long-anticipated “repeal-and-replace” legislation. Fellow GOP Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, John Fleming of Louisiana, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Todd Rokita of Indiana are also expected to attend the event.
The RSC press release announcing the bill’s introduction included no hints of what the legislation might contain.

What could possibly be in this proposal? Can you stand the tension of having to wait?

Ah, but the intrepid journalists of Roll Call have peeked behind the veil:

[I]n August, CQ Roll Call got the scoop on the measure’s anticipated fall debut.
“We’ve obviously fought very hard to repeal the bill, to unravel different pieces on it that are falling on its own weight, anyway,” Scalise said in a brief phone interview at the time. “But we’ve also been working to put together a true alternative that would lower market costs and fix some real problems that existed before Obamacare that are made worse with it.”
Scalise didn’t give a lot of details during that phone call , but said the bill would include protections for people with pre-existing conditions — one of the main benefits of Obamacare.
“We address that to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be discriminated against,” he said.
He promised, however, that it would not “put in place mandates that increase the costs of health care and push people out of the insurance that they like.”

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

WORLD EXCLUSIVE MUST CREDIT POLITICAL ANIMAL

Through carefully cultivated sources in my own cerebellum, I’m able to reveal the mysterious House conservative health care plan:

High-risk pools, HSAs, tax credits, interstate insurance sales, “tort reform,” “entitlement reform.”

Pretty exciting, eh? Encourage bad and expensive insurance for the people who actually need it, probably while easing Medicare into a private insurance system and Medicaid towards the dustbin of history.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s allow conservatives to enjoy their moment of incredibly constructive and visionary health care thinking before we dwell on the fact that their “alternatives to Obamacare” invariably take the worst features of the status quo ante and make them much worse. It’s like taking a bag of skunk from the freezer and plopping it on the grill. The smell will be awesome.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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