Former Republican National Committee chair warns health care is a terrible issue for the GOP in 2020

"Republicans don’t want to have this fight," Michael Steele tells MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”

Published March 28, 2019 1:46PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Joe Raedle)
(Getty/Joe Raedle)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

With Democrats now controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, the chances of Republicans repealing the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, via Congress in 2019 or 2020 are slim and none. But President Donald Trump is attacking the ACA through the federal courts instead, championing the GOP’s anti-ACA lawsuit Texas v. Azarand calling for Obamacare to be struck down as unconstitutional. And when former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning, he stressed that politically, Trump is giving Democrats a major weapon for the 2020 election.

“The Republican Party,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, “will soon be known as the party of health care. You watch.” But Steele stressed to “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski the following morning that Trump is making it easier for Democrats to paint the GOP as the party that wants to deprive Americans of health care.

“The Republicans I’ve talked to, they’re scratching their heads,” Steele noted, adding that those Republicans would prefer to avoid discussing health care because “they know their history on this subject is replete with failure. There is no plan to replace (the ACA). So if the courts take the president up on his charge to completely eliminate Obamacare, then what? We revert back to the old system.”

And that pre-Obamacare “old system,” Steele explained, is a loser for Republicans in multiple ways. Coverage for preexisting health conditions, in a post-Obamacare scenario, “goes away, meaning that people who have those preexisting conditions no longer will have coverage,” Steele warned.

Further, the 60-year-old Steele asserted, “Those who currently have plans will see increased premiums because insurance companies, who are at the center of this health care debacle in the first place, will still run amok and set the market against consumers. So, Republicans don’t want to have this fight.”

Republicans, the former RNC leader added, “saw the costs paid in 2018” over health care—meaning that Democrats achieved a majority in the House of Representatives. And “the costs” for Republicans “will be exponential in 2020” because “Democrats will have the upper hand on this issue until the Republicans come to the table with a plan—and we saw how that went since, what, forever?”

Scarborough piled on, joining fellow conservative Trump critic Steele in stressing that health care is a terrible issue for Republicans. Health care, Scarborough warned, is an issue that Trump should “stay away from” because “it is the one issue that, more than any other issue, has proven the intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party—how they are void of ideas. They started running against Obamacare in 2009; a decade later, they still have no plan.”

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, Scarborough added, “never put together an effective plan to replace Obamacare. Here we are, a decade later, they still have no plan they can submit to Americans…. It does seem like a political disaster waiting to happen.”

By Alex Henderson

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