Liberal Republicans are reportedly plotting to ally with Democrats to bail out Obamacare — and to make matters worse, they’re doubling down on Obamacare’s worst excesses.
The possible bailout, most commonly known as Alexander-Murray — named after Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who have worked on the bill — would resume the subsidies the Obama administration illegally paid to insurance companies to help them stay in the marketplaces. President Trump rightfully ended those illegal subsidies earlier this year, arguing that if Congress wanted to continue paying them, they should appropriate the money. Obamacare is in a death spiral, and as more and more insurers pull out of the unsustainable markets, it has become clear the status quo cannot continue.
But rather than focus on replacing Obamacare like they promised, liberal Republicans like Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins are trying to prop it up, and they’re adding insult to injury by creating a system that allows taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.
Here’s how it works: The Obamacare bailout proposal is not currently covered by the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. Without an explicit prohibition in the bill, the subsidies being paid to insurance companies can — and assuredly will — be used to pay for health insurance plans that cover abortion.
For Republicans, this would be one of the most short-sighted moves in recent political history. Conservatives are already furious at Congress’s failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. That fury has no doubt been tempered a bit with the passage of tax reform, but if Congress passes this bailout and does not include Hyde protections, the GOP would enrage their entire base: both fiscal and social conservatives.
That’s the last thing Republicans should be wanting to do ahead of the 2018 elections. Angering the pro-life movement, a key component of so many recent GOP victories, would almost certainly doom the party to defeat in next year’s midterms.
For further reading, be sure to check out “GOP Could Be Courting Disaster on Obamacare and Abortion” in The Weekly Standard.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0