Replacing ACA harder than repeal

Health insurance entitlements have become the new third rail of politics. Many members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are so worried about alienating millions of voters that they are unwilling to tinker with the massive government takeover of health insurance — even if they might improve the system.

President Donald Trump is renewing his campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. He promises something better will be enacted in its place.

Clearly, Obamacare is flawed deeply. It has driven up health insurance costs for millions of Americans. It has restricted or even eliminating insurance options for many.

But until the Trump administration and his Senate supporters can come up with something besides promises of a “beautiful” health care plan that will take care of everyone without raising costs, as Trump has promised, the current system, with all its faults, should stay in place.

No one outside the White House knows precisely what the president proposes to install in place of Obamacare. We don’t know if anyone inside the White House knows what the president is thinking.

Republicans in Congress have been railing against the Affordable Care Act since it first passed in 2010. They tried dozens of times during the Obama administration to “repeal and replace,” with heavy emphasis on the “repeal” part. Even after Donald Trump was elected and Republicans controlled both houses in Congress, they couldn’t accomplish the repeal.

Perhaps that is because in all those years, no one on the Republican side has come up with a satisfactory plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. If Republicans want to become the “party of health care,” as Trump has suggested, they need to draw up a suitable replacement before they go pulling the health care rug out from under the people who most need it.