Republicans may not outright say this. In fact, if you ask them, they’ll say that they’re still working hard to hash out a compromise that delivers on their promise. But at this point, anything that comes out of ongoing negotiations won’t be able to plausibly be described as repeal. Last December, I warned conservatives to beware of what I dubbed “RINOcare,” or “Repeal In Name Only.” And it’s now inevitable that this is what conservatives will get – if they get anything at all.
To be clear, there are a number of true-believer conservative lawmakers in both chambers of Congress who would eagerly sign off on a bill to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with a true free market alternative. But a critical mass of Republicans is either unwilling or unable to challenge the core elements of Obamacare.
As it stands, the House-passed healthcare bill made major concessions to Obamacare. Though true that the bill repealed much of the taxes in Obamacare, it also left the law’s regulatory infrastructure intact at the national level, and only allowed for limited waivers for states from some of the law’s costly mandates. It delayed until the year of the next presidential election any roll back of the law’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies. And then it replaced Obamacare’s tax credit subsidy scheme with a new tax credit subsidy scheme.