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Repeal and Replace — or Revise? Obamacare!

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So what exactly have those Republican senators come up with to vote on, whenever they can muster enough support?

They have proposed what they call the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, known as H.R. 1628 because it is a revision, indeed a complete replacement, of the American Health Care Act passed by the House last month. And that in turn would have replaced the Affordable Care Act, better known by its nickname, Obamacare, almost since it was proposed in 2007.

So this Republican version would be called Trumpcare, perhaps? Too soon to tell. But compared with the name Obamacare, Trumpcare wouldn’t satisfy the bawds of euphony; too few syllables compared with Obamacare, which fits better with Medicare and Medicaid.

But getting back to business. To be specific, the senators are bringing to a vote “H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, an amendment in the nature of a substitute proposed in the Senate June 22, 2017 and updated on June 26, 2017, as a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make fundamental changes to Medicaid financing through the Fiscal Year 2017 budget reconciliation process.” That’s the description of the bill.

Repeal and replace. That’s what both the House and the Senate versions do. But it happens that in each case, some of the replacement is Obamacare. Not everything is changed.

In fact, the bill could just as accurately have been called Revision of the Affordable Care Act, rather than Repeal and Replace.

If it had Revision in its title, Democrats could vote for it — but Republicans couldn’t. They promised their constituents they would abolish Obamacare.

With Repeal and Replace in the title, Republicans can vote for it, but Democrats can’t. The accident of naming has more influence than the substance of the bill.

It seems simple enough, but it gets complicated. See for yourself: Jimmy Kimmel went out into the streets to interview passers-by about which they liked better, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. None of the interviewees realized that those were two names for the same thing.

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