As time wears on, the following prediction will seem less like science fiction and more like science fact: The Republicans will eventually try to take credit for the Affordable Care Act. The fact that it's proving itself to be increasingly successful, along with the reality that much of the law was originally conceived by Republicans, makes it absolutely ripe for the plucking.
Indeed, it wouldn't be surprising if, in 10 years or so, the Republicans were to not only claim credit, but also to campaign on preserving it. Keep your government hands off of our blah, blah blah! Clearly, they won't claim credit for passing the original law, but they'll surely take credit for preventing the state exchanges from being dismantled, along with some of the consumer protections in the law.
It's already starting in Kentucky where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, fighting for his political life, is using some generous handfuls of slippery petroleum jelly, normally reserved to moisten his subterranean nearly-translucent epidermis, in order to dodge his way around Obamacare.
In the event of a repeal, McConnell wants his state to decide independently whether to keep its wildly popular state marketplace, known as Kynect.
"If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep Kynect or set up a different marketplace," Allison Moore, a campaign spokeswoman for McConnell, told TPM in a statement Tuesday ... His campaign added that Kynect creates a "marketplace of private insurance plans" and states like Utah and Massachusetts had established similar systems before Obamacare became law in 2010.
McConnell, in a move that raised eyebrows, told home state reporters that the fate of Kynect was "unconnected" to the fate of Obamacare. His campaign's statement Tuesday suggests he's standing by that position.
If the state exchanges are debatably permissible now, the most popular parts of the law would be eliminated in a would-be Republican repeal. Consumers would once again be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, the lifetime and annual limits would be reinstated, 20-somethings would be booted off their parents' insurance, federal financing for the Medicaid expansion would end as would federal insurance subsidies for lower-income Americans, and anyone who signed up for insurance through Healthcare.gov would potentially lose their coverage.
But Kentucky would get to keep its exchange.
That seems fair, doesn't it?