Like most Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has said that he wants to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Like most Republicans, McConnell has been rather vague about what he’d replace it with. On Sunday, McConnell was specific about one thing: the GOP replacement for Obamacare won’t be concerned with providing insurance for 30 million uninsured Americans.
In an interview with Fox News, McConnell pushed the standard GOP boilerplate on health reform — he would support tort reform, allowing insurance companies to sell substandard insurance across state lines and other reforms that would benefit insurance companies without helping patients. When pressed by Chris Matthews on what he’d do to provide universal coverage, McConnell said bluntly that they aren’t his concern:
WALLACE: I just want to ask, what specifically are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?
MCCONNELL: That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system. … We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system.
For Republicans like McConnell, the fact that 30 million people don’t have access to health care is not the issue. The question is how the American health care system can be “improved” to benefit insurance companies more.
McConnell states flatly what more than a few conservatives have hinted at: the “replacement” for the ACA would simply move us backward to the health care system of before, a system where people can be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, insurance companies can drop you on a whim and tens of millions of Americans lack access to basic health care. Sure, some poor people will die because of that. That’s nothing worth changing the law for, though. It’s simply not an issue that concerns the GOP.
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Image Credit: Gage Skidmore