Boehner: GOP Can’t Repeal Obamacare Without Own Alternative

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Obamacare’s late enrollment surge led numerous conservative experts to conclude that the law won’t collapse on its own and that full repeal was no longer viable.

Now House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), in many ways the face of the Obamacare repeal movement, is casting doubt on the idea that the transformative law can be fully undone — at least without a plan to replace it.

“(To) repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace,” Boehner told constituents at the Middletown Rotary Club, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market overnight.”

Boehner has sanctioned more than 50 House votes to repeal or dismantle Obamacare. But, notably, the Republican-led House has never passed a comprehensive replacement for the law. GOP leaders say they’re working on an alternative, but the party is far from a consensus on how to reform health care.

Boehner emphasized that Obamacare is transforming the health care system, and cautioned that some of its impacts may be permanent: “Secondly, you’ve got the big hospital organizations buying up doctor’s groups because hospitals get reimbursed two or three times doctor’s do for the same procedure just because it’s a hospital. Those kinds of changes can’t be redone.”

The Ohio Republican said he remains optimistic about making a “transition” to what he calls a “patient-centered” health care system, although he didn’t explain how he’d do it.

“So the biggest challenge we are going to have is — I do think at some point we’ll get there — is the transition of Obamacare back to a system that empowers patients and doctors to make choices that are good for their own health,” he said, “as opposed to doing what the government is dictating they should do.”

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