The Affordable Care Act is dead.
On Wednesday, incoming Vice President Mike Pence met with his onetime Republican U.S. House colleagues to prepare for repealing the law known as Obamacare, and they're trying to get a head start on defunding and scrapping it in an expeditious matter. They're hoping to put it on a repeal-and-delay timetable, in which they officially repeal the Affordable Care Act and set up a period for the Republicans to come up with an alternative.
Which will likely be a return to the way things were in 2009.
And don't think the Democrats will be able to stop them, either; the Republicans plan to push the repeal through in a Senate-filibuster-proof budget resolution, which is, ironically, how the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in the first place.
At least one Republican in Washington, as well as with some Republican governors, is fearful that this move could lead millions of people in limbo and without health insurance. U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has demanded that his party come up with a health care plan of its own before scrapping the current law. "We need to think through how we do this, and it's a huge mistake for Republicans if they do not vote for replacement on the same day as we vote for repeal," he said.
He's unlikely to get any support from any fellow Republicans, except maybe Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
Meanwhile, President Obama, with only a few days left to go in office, held a pity party to buck up Democrats in Congress to urge them fight the Republican onslaught on his signature legislation, even though they're outvoted. The biggest Obamacare proponent in the Senate is Democratic leader Charles Schumer (NY), who famously attributed the Democratic loss of the Senate in 2014 to the party paying too much attention on - you guessed it - health care.
Ironically, Obamacare was based on Republican market reform ideas from the nineties. The Democratic proposal of the time - Medicare for all - never got anywhere, and it certainly won't get anywhere in this Congress, as Paul Ryan is working on a new program - Medicare for no one.
Yeah, Obamacare is as good as gone. And don't start threatening to move to Great Britain, boys and girls, because the British National Health Service is slowly being done away with too.
Funny how what took the Tories in the U.K. seventy years to do, the Republicans are going to be able to do in a few short months.