- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Republican operatives countered attacks on the Republican health care plans Wednesday with ads saying Democrats haven’t brought anything to the table beyond a push for government-run, single-payer system.

The Republican National Committee released a whimsical web ad showing media pundits, Senate Democrats and Bill and Hillary Clinton diagnosing the Affordable Care Act’s wobbly markets without offering alternatives to tamp down premiums or increase choices.

“Democrats know Obamacare is broken. We have a plan to fix it,” the RNC says. “Where’s their plan?”

Senate Republicans are struggling to cobble together 50 votes from their narrow majority and pass a bill that would scrap Obamacare’s heavy mandates and most of its taxes, replace its subsidies with less generous tax credits and significantly curtail spending on Medicaid for the poor.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s still turning the dials on his “Rubik’s Cube” to get a plan that can satisfy both conservatives and moderates.

For instance, the Congressional Budget Score is expected to score an amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that would let insurers offer plans that do not comply with Obamacare’s coverage regulations so long as they offer some plans that do.

Conservatives say allowing consumers to buy the type of coverage they want is the best way to drive down premiums, though opponents say consumers will pay less for skimpier benefits, while those who still want robust coverage will have to pay more.

Democrats and their progressive allies have loudly protested the Senate’s health plans over the July 4th break. It’s part of a concerted effort to keep pressure on GOP holdouts after Mr. McConnell was forced to postpone a planned floor vote last week.

Republicans say their criticism is misplaced and should be turned inward, pointing to rising premiums and the mass exodus of insurers from markets across the Midwest under the Democrats’ signature health program.

“While Republicans work to fix our broken health care system, Democrats have dug in their heels in the name of partisanship, instead focused on obstruction and resistance,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Democrats insist they’re ready to work on bipartisan fixes if Republican take repeal off the table. Yet their most prominent ideas have been rejected by congressional Republicans as “more Obamacare” — notably the push for a government-run “public option” to compete with private plans.

Republicans trying to pin down votes for their own plan say the alternative to failure could be a costly “Medicare for all” program that goes far beyond the public option.

Progressive stalwarts such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, and Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, have both said in recent interviews that single-payer should be the focus after the Obamacare debate is over.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign released a series of digital ads that attempt to tie red-state Democrats to single payer and its estimated price tag of $32 trillion over the 10-year budget window.

The ads, which target 10 Senate Democrats, try to argue that lawmakers whose voting records are similar to Ms. Warren’s will be tempted to back a single-payer plan.

“Socialized medicine would be disastrous for the economy and devastating for American families, yet Red State Democrats continually side with Elizabeth Warren,” NRSC spokeswoman Katie Martin said. “Red State Democrats need to own up to whether or not they’ll follow their leader’s extreme plan over the well-being of folks at home.”

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