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Krauthammer: GOP 'must accept' voters want to keep some of Obamacare

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Columnist Charles Krauthammer said Republicans "must accept" that voters want to keep some of Obamacare. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

It's most likely too late for Republicans to fully rid the nation of Obamacare, according to conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Krauthammer said Obamacare has changed what Americans expect from lawmakers when it comes to healthcare policy, and that makes it almost "politically impossible" for the GOP to repeal it.

"People hated Obamacare for its highhandedness, incompetence and cost," he said. "At the same time, its crafters took great care to create new beneficiaries and new expectations. Which makes repeal very complicated."

Congressional Republicans have largely campaigned on the "repeal and replace" of Obamacare since the law was passed. Their current proposal dismantles some of it but keeps some popular parts, like allowing adults up to 26 years old to remain on their parents' insurance plans and requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. The bill also fails to wipe it off the books, and instead zeros out some of its functions because it's trying to whittle it down using the budget reconciliation process.

But the bill faces opposition from more conservative members who say the bill is too costly and effectively "Obamacare-lite."

"There is no free lunch," wrote Krauthammer. "GOP hard-liners must accept that Americans have become accustomed to some new health-care benefits, just as moderates have to brace themselves for stories about the inevitable losers in any reform. That's the political price for fulfilling the seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare."