Or whatever it's going to be called. Too early to say for sure on that end ("Trumpcare?")
But the critics (of which there are plenty on the right) are correct about one thing- it basically is Obamacare 2.0. The spin machine has already started to work at championing this as some type of free market reform, but in reality, it's basically just Obamacare with some items renamed, and a little tinkering around the edges. The major change is the mandate is being replaced with a quasi-mandate-- i.e., instead of having to purchase insurance or face a penalty, now one can choose not to purchase insurance, but face a 30% increase in premiums once you do buy.
So it begs the question, how did we get here? Why didn't the GOP actually have a replacement plan? Well that should be obvious- Obamacare was the GOP plan, i.e. their original alternative to a more nationalized system, so as to keep the $$ flowing to insurance companies.
The opposition always had more to do with the fact that Obama passed it than anything else, and in that sense, it was very much the useful boogeyman for the past 8 years, just like Iraq was for the Democrats in the 00s. And had the GOP lost this election, it would've been the gift that kept on giving- all sorts of sh-t could be blamed on Obamacare for years to come. But that didn't happen, and after years of promising a replacement, the GOP had to have known that there was always the risk that they'd be back in power.
Going to the policy itself- the main problem with Obamacare was the mandate loophole- a problem I discussed on here years and years ago as the big reason why premiums wouldn't go down (and, of course, I was right). Basically the penalty was never large enough to actually incentivize people to purchase insurance, since you could just wait until you got sick, due to the ban on denying pre-existing conditions. And just like clockwork, that's exactly what happened- no one that was healthy signed up and premiums went through the roof. How this wasn't discussed more when the original plan was passed baffles me to this very day.
And this is exactly what's going to happen under the new plan. No one is going to care about a hypothetical 30% increase in a premium when they won't actually need the insurance until 20 or 30 years from now. People in general are pretty irrational and also notoriously bad at long-term planning. So, only sick people will continue to sign up, same as before, and premiums will keep going up.
There's only two ways to decrease premiums. Either a) go back to the old system where insurance actually worked like insurance, and insurers could deny people for all sorts of reasons (this ship has probably sailed.. there's no way this is politically viable);
or b) we'd have to go to single-payer, or even just nationalize health care altogether. Of course, for this to work without taxes going astronomically up, there'd have to be things like rationing and death panels, and you can forget about anything like that ever passing Congress.
So basically, we're just kinda stuck with Obamacare or some version of it; that's about as conservative a plan you can practically get through Congress. And the thing is, behind closed doors, the GOP knew this. So why was this the issue that we had to draw the line in the sand on? There were a lot of other good things that could've flown through in the first 100 days. Infrastructure would've been tough for the Dems to vote against and an easy win. Trade would've been a pretty easy win, and would also have the added benefit of splitting the Dems between the Sanders and Clinton wings. And with a couple wins in their pocket, the GOP may have had the capital to push through some truly fundamental changes that would dramatically benefit the country, like immigration reform or tax reform.
But instead, we now have to debate this turd for the next 6 months? The GOP will now be lucky if they can get any major bills through before the midterms. And not only that, the Dems are in the position where they can basically sit on the sidelines, watch Ryan try and whip votes for the bill, and then if it actually passes somehow, blame the increased premiums on the GOP for the midterms.
You know what's funny- Trump actually realized this. He mentioned off-the-cuff several times in recent rallies that the easy thing to do would be to just let Obamacare implode and then blame it on the Dems, instead of trying to replace it. His instincts were right. Too bad that's not how it's gonna play out.