Republicans Want To Get Rid Of Obamacare. But Then What?


This is FRESH AIR. I’m Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. While President Trump clashed with some Republicans over a variety of issues in last year’s campaign, one thing they all seemed to agree on was the need to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Now that congressional Republicans have a willing president and the votes to scrap the health care law, they’re finding the task a little more complicated than it seemed. Republican lawmakers have a wide range of ideas about what they might replace Obamacare with. But a secret recording of a Republican policy meeting in Philadelphia revealed many are worried about the political cost of removing coverage from those who’ve come to count on it.

For some perspective on what’s happening in Washington and how it might affect our health care, we turn to Sarah Kliff, a senior policy correspondent at Before joining Vox, Kliff covered health policy for The Washington Post and for POLITICO and Newsweek. She co-hosts a policy-oriented podcast for Vox called “The Weeds.” Kliff and co-host Ezra Klein recently interviewed President Obama about the debate over health care and the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I spoke with Sarah Kliff Tuesday.

Well, Sarah Kliff, welcome to FRESH AIR. You know, there are a lot of things about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, that people like to talk about. I mean, 20 million more Americans are covered, preexisting conditions are covered, kids stay on their plans – their parents’ plans longer. What is it that Republicans so hate that they must repeal it?

SARAH KLIFF: Well, one is that it was a big political win for Democrats – right? – that they have this big thing that they did. They covered millions of people with insurance. And it really has been incredibly, surprisingly unified on the Republican side since seven years ago, when the law passed, that they have just remained incredibly unified on repeal. So I

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