On Sunday's Face the Nation, Sen. Mitch McConnell teed off on the Affordable Care Act:
MITCH MCCONNELL: Well, what you need to understand is that there are 25 million Americans who aren't covered now. If the idea behind Obamacare was to get everyone covered, that's one of the many failures. In addition to premiums going up, co-payments going up, deductibles going up. And many Americans who actually did get insurance when they did not have it before, have really bad insurance that they have to pay for and the deductibles are so high that it's really not worth much to them. So it is chaotic. The status quo is simply unacceptable.
This is, I think, the correct case to make against Obamacare. It really didn't cover everyone. Premiums, co-pays, and deductibles really are too high — 43 percent of enrollees have a deductible above $2,500. There are a lot of people being pushed to buy insurance that will break their budget before they ever get to use it.
But here, then, is the question McConnell needs to answer: Is he promising the Republican replacement will feature more coverage and lower premiums, co-pays, and deductibles?
I asked McConnell's office this question and didn't get very far with it. His spokesperson, Don Stewart, said: "The smart play with McConnell is not to go looking for interpretation, but rather just listen to what he says."
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Okay, I replied, but if McConnell is saying that the status quo, with 25 million uninsured and high deductibles, is unacceptable, then is it reasonable to assume he would be against a replacement that led to less coverage and higher deductibles?
"He's been clear not to pre-define the replacement measures other than to say it won't be one single bill," Stewart said.
In an op-ed released today, McConnell criticizes the Affordable Care Act almost entirely by quoting Democrats criticizing high premiums, sparse competition on certain exchanges, and insurance that's often too expensive to us. But, again, he refuses to say whether he will insist that any Republican replacement actually fix these problems.