Plan A is dead.
The Republicans’ seven-year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare never got the oxygen it needed in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. On Monday night, a third and a fourth Republican senator flatlined the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act. Someone slapped a toe tag on it. It was gone.
Plan B arrived Tuesday morning, already on life support. “Repeal and we’ll get back to you later,” this one probably should have been called.
Donald Trump – looking for something, anything, to sign – tweeted his support immediately: “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” Leader McConnell seemed to agree. He marched to the Senate floor and promised a swift “repeal of Obamacare combined with a stable, two-year transition period.”
Transition to what? No one had a clue.
By Tuesday afternoon, Plan B was also heading to the morgue. Three Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – pulled the plug this time. All of them worried what this leap into darkness might mean for sick people of their states.
Capito put it quite eloquently. “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” she said.
So are you ready for Plan C?
Plan C is don’t get sick. Whatever you do, don’t get sick. If you don’t get sick, you won’t need healthcare. If you don’t need healthcare, you won’t have trouble paying for it. That’s Plan C. And that’s where we’ll all be stuck unless the two parties in Washington, Republicans and Democrats, somehow find their way to Plan D.
Plan D is the one they should have started with all along.
Work together. Embrace the good parts of Obamacare. The expansion of Medicaid. The protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Keeping kids on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
Then, shore up the state exchanges. Offer a public option. Negotiate prices with the drug companies. Fix whatever else is broken with Obamacare.
Isn’t it time to give the people what every other civilized nation does?
Cooperation. Practical solutions. Plan D.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is a veteran journalist, best-selling author and frequent commentator on CNN and other TV networks. Follow him on Twitter @henican.