From The Hill
When the new president is inaugurated and the new Congress arrives in January 2017, an epic battle over the future of healthcare in America will begin.
Republicans will side with insurers and Big Pharma to try to destroy ObamaCare, even while new customers are enrolling in large numbers, and privatize Medicare. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will be fighting for consumers and renewing his battle to create a single-payer healthcare system that Democrats will call "Medicare for all."
The war against ObamaCare declared by Republicans will result in a mixed outcome in 2017. GOP leaders will learn that creating a replacement for ObamaCare will be much harder than they've admitted it to be. Whatever changes they succeed in making will increase healthcare costs for consumers and create an intense public backlash that will harm Republicans in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Sanders, by contrast, has long been linear, clear and unequivocal in his support for America joining the community of democratic nations and creating, as virtually every free nation has done, a single-payer Medicare-for-all healthcare system.
The case for Medicare for all is well-stated on the website of Our Revolution, the Sanders-inspired organization that mobilizes progressives to battle for causes that improve the lot of poor and middle-income Americans.
On healthcare, Sanders is right, Republicans are wrong, and President Obama and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton fell victim to the great curse of Democratic institutional insiders by supporting halfway measures that make healthcare better but include major flaws in the program.
ObamaCare did make things better. But when President Obama, at a time of large Democratic majorities in Congress, surrendered by forsaking the public option and abandoning plans to allow the importation of high-quality and low-cost Canadian pharmaceuticals, he guaranteed that drug prices and insurance premiums would rise beyond what was politically acceptable.
Clinton, who as first lady was a strong champion of dramatic healthcare reform, campaigned in 2016 by trying to have it both ways. She called for incremental new reforms and wrongly attacked the Sanders healthcare plan as undermining ObamaCare, because her ill-considered strategy was to run to serve Obama's third term rather than run as a candidate of change.
It is no coincidence that President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, who have won the equivalent of a one-party Republican state in official Washington for now -- controlling the presidency and Congress -- appear to be equivocating and confused about how to wage their war against ObamaCare.
The latest GOP twist against ObamaCare is the ludicrous concept of "repeal now, replace later." This Republican move into the realm of banana republic healthcare policy reveals the great truth of the GOP problem: They want to destroy Obamacare but have no plan to replace it that will not punish Americans with rising healthcare costs.
That is a result they do not want voters to know about before the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Their strategy will fail.