Don’t just repeal health care plan

If you have a private health insurance policy, would you call your agent and cancel it just because there is a small chance you might find something better?

Of course not. That would be crazy. At some point after your policy lapsed, you would be prey for anyone eager to sell you any coverage at any price.

But members of Congress, with encouragement from President Donald Trump, are thinking of doing something similar.

Millions of Americans believe that the Affordable Care Act — aka “Obamacare” — needs to be repealed and replaced. Many, of course, don’t feel this way at all, but voters elected Republicans, who made repeal-and-replace a campaign priority, to control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.

Multiple attempts to pull the plug and craft a new health insurance law have failed, however. Most recently, a Senate bill was deep-sixed this week after it became apparent it would not survive a vote.

Now a “Plan B” is being promoted. It would repeal most, if not all, Obamacare provisions, effective in two years. Supporters think that would force Congress to come up with an alternative.

Obviously, it would do just that, but what kind of alternative? An emergency bill put together at the last minute to get something — anything — on the books?

Working with Trump, lawmakers of both parties need to devise a replacement bill that will work for a wide array of Americans — and can be enacted.

This is the nature of compromise, the kind built into our government. The reason the nation’s founders framed it that way in the Constitution is so federal laws better represent the will of a broad spectrum of Americans. Health care is clearly an issue where people differ greatly, so some kind of middle ground will have to be found if anything is to happen.

Now is the time to get back to the drawing board, not to push it aside and declare, in effect, “Mission not accomplished, but it was the best we could do.”

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