Top House Democrats are prepared to sit out any process to replace Obamacare and give full responsibility and ownership to Republicans if they get their way and repeal the healthcare law.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, told reporters that if Republicans repeal Obamacare, they will be forced to go about the replacement process "alone" and without working with Democrats. The California Democrats' remarks echo those from Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who last week pinned all responsibility on their Republican colleagues.
"They are irresponsibly pushing forward this notion of repealing the ACA without a replacement plan. You would think in seven years they could come up with something," Sanchez said. "They have no plan. They have no idea, and they don't know what they would do without the ACA. They even can't promise that whatever they replace the ACA with will cover as many people as the ACA does."
"Democrats are ready to work with them if they want to fine tune the parts of the ACA that are not working so well," Sanchez said. "But if they want to dismantle real progress for working families, then Republicans are going to have to do it alone because we won't stand there and let it happen."
When pressed about the chances House Democrats could work with Republicans if they get their way and repeal Obamacare, Sanchez said she would only do so if the GOP's replacement plan covers the 20 million the Affordable Care Act has covered.
"We would be willing to work on a replacement insofar as it would not reduce the coverage that we have under ACA. There are certain benchmarks by which people judge a plan and if their replacement plan will leave millions of Americans without coverage or not provide many of the safeguards that we worked hard to put into place, then I think it's a non-starter for Democrats."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., equated the Republican stance on the issue to wanting "dessert before eating their vegetables."
House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced Tuesday morning that the Republican plan is to "concurrently" repeal and replace the healthcare law. Ryan's remark comes a day after members of the House Freedom Caucus announced that they are not prepared to back a repeal measure unless it involves an immediate replacement for the ACA.
"We are going to use every tool at our disposal, through legislation and regulations, to bring replacement concurrently with repeal so we can save people from this mess," Ryan said.