Search
Demonstrators hold signs in support of the Affordable Care Act at a gathering before the start of a protest march near the hotel where House and Senate Republicans are attending a retreat, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek - RTSXJ6Z
Demonstrators hold signs in support of the Affordable Care Act at a gathering before the start of a protest march near the hotel where House and Senate Republicans are attending a retreat in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 2017.  Tom Mihalek—Reuters

Republicans Are Starting to Worry About 'Trumpcare'

Jan 27, 2017

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, House Republicans don't know what the replacement will look like, but they do know what the public will call it: "Trumpcare."

That was the phrase used in a closed-door meeting among House Republicans to discuss concern that the yet-to-be-legislated Obamacare replacement could create political liabilities in the 2018 election if voters lose their health insurance or if the repeal destabilizes the health care market.

"That’s going to be called Trumpcare," said Republican Rep. Tom McClintock of California in a private meeting with fellow lawmakers, according to a recording obtained by the Washington Post. "Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”

This suggests that rank-and-file Republicans acknowledge what Democrats have been saying for weeks: that any replacement for the Affordable Care Act will be known as "Trumpcare," and that Republicans will be held responsible for its success or, more likely, its failure.

The Trump administration abruptly halted ads to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, five days before the January 31st deadline. In the past, there's been a surge of sign-ups in the final days of the enrollment period.

Democrats have already resolved to make Republicans own whatever they implement in place of Obamacare. Before he left office, President Obama told Democratic lawmakers not to "rescue" Republicans on health care and to refer to the GOP's plan as "Trumpcare." Top officials at the Kaiser Family Foundation and experts tracking ACA signups are already calling the replacement plan "Trumpcare." And Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have already vowed to make Republicans own any flaws in the replacement plan, using the slogan "Make American Sick Again."

Of course, nobody even knows what "Trumpcare" looks like. Trump has signed an executive order indicating his intention to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but implementing a replacement would require significant wrangling in Congress. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that eliminating the ACA's mandate and subsidies would leave 18 million people without health insurance.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.