Rep. Connolly: If GOP Repeals Obamacare, Democrats’ ‘Only Fallback’ Will Be Single-Payer System

By Susan Jones | May 3, 2017 | 10:09 AM EDT

Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) says Democrats' "only fallback" -- if Obamacare is repealed -- is a single-payer system. (Screen grab from C-SPAN's "Washington Journal")

(CNSNews.com) – If Republicans succeed in repealing Obamacare – a dubious prospect at the moment -- “then sooner or later, when Democrats come back into power, our only fallback is going to be a single-payer system,” Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) told C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Wednesday.

Connolly said some Democrats would have preferred a single-payer, government-run system all along, but that’s not what they got: “Obamacare is predicated on the private insurance system in America,” he said.

“Should this plan be repealed, I believe the fallback eventually will be a single-payer system. So if I were an insurance company, I’d be looking at that future, and I’d try to make this one work.”

Connolly said for private insurance companies, “It’s about profit, it’s not really always about customer service.”

He said that’s why Democrats passed the law that prevents insurance companies from denying people coverage based on a pre-existing condition. “And virtually everybody over 50 has a pre-existing condition. That’s kind of the human condition if you live long enough,” Connolly said.

He also noted that Obamacare prevents insurance companies from putting an annual or lifetime cap on benefits.

But those and other expensive Obamacare mandates drove up premium and deductible costs for many middle-income families and prompted insurance companies – which operate by spreading risk -- to pull out of the Obamacare exchanges.

But Connolly said Republicans are the ones creating the crisis for the insurance companies:

“They are the ones creating this crisis for insurance companies by creating so much uncertainty about (Obamacare) won’t even be here in six months, it won’t be here in 12 months, from Trump on down. And it’s unconscionable; this is the law of the land, you know, it’s a duly constituted program, it’s working, and it’s helping millions of Americans.

“And so when they (Republicans) can’t win the legislative fight, or the public opinion fight, they actually try to undermine it, discouraging insurance companies from wanting to participate because it might not be around in 6 to 12 months.”

Connolly said he’s been “struck” by how many Republican moderates have refused to go along with the Republican health care plan, which still doesn’t have the votes to pass the Republican-controlled House.

“And they’re hearing, I think, spontaneous and genuine outrage back home at the consequences of the repeal and what it might mean for individual lives in their districts, even in red districts.”

Connolly said all the public outrage has affected lawmakers by “focusing their attention on what they’re doing and what the consequences would be for their constituents and politically for them.”

As of Wednesday morning, just two days before the start of another congressional recess, House Republicans had not scheduled a vote on their revised plan, which would allow states to waive coverage for pre-existing conditions under certain conditions.


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