Despite fresh evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working very well, the Republican repeal crusade hasn't quit. GOP lawmakers continue to explore new ways to gut the American health care system, and Republican presidential candidates, just as a matter of course, talk openly about their plans to kill the successful and effective law.
The GOP's principal problem, however, hasn't changed: Republicans know they hate "Obamacare" for reasons they can't fully explain, but as has been the case for over five years, the party simply has no idea what to offer as an alternative.
Never fear, Donald Trump has it figured out. The leading Republican presidential hopeful sat down yesterday with CNN's Dana Bash, and according to the Nexis transcript, this was their exchange about health care:
BASH: So, you're in the Oval Office, you're saying Obamacare... TRUMP: It's got to go. BASH: It's got to go. TRUMP: Repeal and replace with something terrific.
Oh, something terrific. Why didn't Republicans just say so? I was concerned they might try to replace the ACA with something wholly inadequate, but if the plan will be "something terrific" -- no doubt, it'll be classy, too -- then American families obviously have no reason to worry about Republicans taking their health care benefits away.
All joking aside, when Bash asked Trump to elaborate a bit on what "terrific" plan he has in mind, the GOP candidate added that the system will depend on "private companies" that will do great with "competition."
It's easy to laugh at this, but let's not lose sight of the larger context: Trump's six-word health care plan -- "repeal and replace with something terrific" -- is every bit as specific as the health care plan outlined by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
Indeed, what makes Trump's comment especially amusing is its broad applicability in describing Republicans' approach to policymaking.
President Obama's administration has reached an international nuclear agreement with Iran, which Republicans fiercely oppose. What's their alterative solution? Replace the deal with "something terrific."
The Senate last year passed a comprehensive immigration reform plan, backed by the public, business leaders, union leaders, law enforcement, and the faith community. House Republicans killed it anyway. What's their alterative solution? Pass "something terrific" instead.
Democrats approved the Dodd/Frank Wall Street reform bill, establishing new safeguards and layers of accountability in the financial system. Republicans are desperate to repeal it. No one knows what the GOP's preferred model will look like, exactly, but it's bound to be "something terrific."