Republicans deflected attacks that they have no alternative to Obamacare, all the while not offering any alternatives.
“Frankly, the president hasn’t put many ideas on the table. This is his legislation, it’s not worked well,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe. “I would expect the corrective to come from him.”
Democrats and the president returned to the offensive on Tuesday, calling for collaboration on fixing the healthcare law and hitting Republicans for not offering up better ideas.
“We’re not going back,” the president said from the White House. “You’ve got good ideas? Bring ‘em to me. But we’re not repealing it as long as I’m president.”
“If you don’t like this law—so, if despite all the millions of people who are benefitting from it, you still think this law is a bad idea then you’ve got to tell us specifically what you’d do differently to cut costs, cover more people, make insurance more secure,” Obama challenged. “You can’t just say that the system was working with 41 million people without health insurance. You can’t just say that the system is working when you’ve got a whole bunch of folks who thought they had decent insurance and then when they got sick, it turned out it wasn’t there for them or they were left with tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs that were impossible for them to pay.”
The Democratic National Committee piled on, launching a site Tuesday called GOPHealthCarePlan.com, which says the GOP’s only healthcare alternative is to demand repeal.
There are “over 200” pieces of Republican legislation on healthcare, Cole said on Morning Joe, though none have majority support or leadership backing.
“We’ll see,” House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner said Tuesday, sidestepping questions on GOP alternatives to healthcare before returning to his usual complaints that the bill does not and will never work.
But NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd said there isn’t much for Boehner to do.
“The fact there isn’t really a bill being concocted right now,” he said on The Daily Rundown. ”This morning, Boehner confidant Congressman Tom Cole tried a ‘save,’ arguing that Republicans have put some alternatives on the table. But nothing’s passed because there’s no unity in the GOP on whether they want to run on something like that.”
“It’s not like Democrats are winning the healthcare war,” Todd added. “But they haven’t been losing it to the Republicans, they’ve been losing it to themselves.”
And while Cole said the Republicans were “willing” to work with the president and admitted that Obamacare would create “millions of winners, I’ll be the first to acknowledge it,” he quickly returned to overarching condemnation.
“But you’re going to have tens of millions of losers too,” he said.
“We’re willing to sit down and work with the president, but the reality is it just hasn’t worked, millions of people are losing their insurance, rates have gone up, people aren’t satisfied with the product,” Cole continued. “This is the president’s responsibility. It’s his signature legislation and you cant blame the failure on us when we’ve been against what’s been failing since the beginning.”
Former healthcare adviser to the president Dr. Zeke Emmanuel argued that with Cole that they’d tried to get Republicans on board with healthcare before it became law, but they wouldn’t offer alternatives then either.
“You didn’t have a proposal, you had a few ideas,” Emmanuel said on Morning Joe.
“Well actually it is a proposal, it’s just not the proposal you wanted,” Cole fired back.