Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), one of the Republicans who has been skeptical of the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, elaborated on his concerns Monday evening, pointing specifically to how lawmakers will fund its replacement if the Obamacare taxes are repealed right away.
“It just seems to me that probably you’re better off working this all out together,” Corker said. “That may not end up being the case and that of course would take some Democratic cooperation, but I think people are beginning to realize that throwing $116 billion dollars in a mud puddle is a pretty big deal.”
Corker is of one of about a half-dozen Republicans who have suggested that that the lawmakers pump the breaks on its repeal plan to work out some of the details of their replacement. Asked Monday if there are been discussions among the caucus to assuage some of those concerns, Corker said “There aren’t really discussions right now.”
He added that “each of us are talking to folks whom may be with the incoming administration and others about some of the issues, but there isn’t sort of a group discussion.”
“It’s hard to allay a fear like, if you do away with all the revenues and continue subsidies you’re throwing $116 billion in a mud puddle. I don’t know how you alleviate that kind of concern. It’s just real,” Corker said. “It seems to me that if you’re going to keep providing subsidies you ought to keep generating some revenues to pay for it. It’s difficult to allay the concern that if you end it 3 yrs without a replacement, what Republican is going to vote for a tax increase to fund it? I don’t know any.”
Leadership so far has signaled it intends to move forward with its current plan, to use reconciliation, a procedural maneuver that would avoid a Democratic filibuster, with a bill similar to 2015 legislation that was vetoed by President Obama. That legislation dismantled major ACA taxes right away but delayed repeal of the subsidies for two years.