Isakson weighs options as Obamacare replacement effort collapses

WASHINGTON — As the Senate was laying the groundwork for its repeal of Obamacare back in January, Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson insisted that tearing down the seven-year-old law without a replacement was “unsustainable and impractical.”

“It’s wrong for us to say we’re going to repeal Obamacare without replacing it with a plan that we know works and has the opportunity [to work],” Isakson said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The third-term Republican was less certain about a similar proposal on Tuesday as the GOP’s years-long quest to replace the Affordable Care Act veered off the tracks in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrambled to come up with a Plan B, vowing to tee up a vote on a repeal-only measure in the days ahead despite the fact that the legislation appeared to be on track to fail.

Isakson on Tuesday was non-committal when asked about his plans for the repeal-only vote.

“I’m not going to answer a specific question when there’s not a plan,” Isakson said. “I’ll specifically address that when the leader comes up with a plan one way or another.”

More: Georgia stakeholders anxious and confused over health care fight

The Marietta Republican, who sits on the Senate’s two main health care committees, has kept his policy wish list broad for the duration of the Obamacare replacement debate in order to keep his options open. (He did manage to slip more money for charity hospitals such as Grady Memorial Hospital into the GOP’s second health care draft.) In general, Isakson has been viewed as a loyal ally of party leaders such as McConnell.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. David Perdue said he planned to vote for a repeal-only bill.

“What we did in ‘15 I voted for and I’d vote for it again,” the Georgia Republican said, referring to a 2015 bill that also repealed large swaths of Obamacare. The legislation was ultimately vetoed by President Barack Obama.

“What we’re sitting here with is a collapsing system,” Perdue said. “People are going to begin to lose access and we’ve gotta fix that.”

Read more local reaction to the Senate health care bill on myAJC

Reader Comments 0

166 comments
Elina Howard
Elina Howard

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John Moss
John Moss

Repeal the law as promised. Isakson voted for repeal when he knew Obama would veto, playing games with the people. Now is the time to do your job, Senator Isakson or are you so much part of the establishment that you can't walk away from using my money to subsidize big insurance companies? Enough is enough, get it done!

Joann Rasor
Joann Rasor

Our forefathers warned us against big government Senator Isakson do as we were promised for the last 9yrs. Repeal the monster called Obamacare.

Thomas R. McFarland
Thomas R. McFarland

Fix what exists. Meet our country's needs, not a narrow section of the Republican party.

Charlette Schutte Lagatare
Charlette Schutte Lagatare

He doesn't work for us...the GOP is all they care about. And we elected these buffoons to work for us!@@

Jenny Ramey Jackson
Jenny Ramey Jackson

Dear Mr Isakson and Mr Perdue, WE THE PEOPLE are tired of paying your huge salaries and perks while you do nothing but pander to the loudmouthed liberals. We are tired of the witch hunt and the continuous circus of'investigations'. We want to see some action; firstly in the arrest and prosecution of ALL those making threats against OUR PRESIDENT. Then the arrest and prosecution of the traitors to the United States, namely Clinton, Obama, Rice, Holder etc etc. Repeal obamacare and get the Government back to the job of GOVERNING. Put healthcare back into the hands of DR's and insurance back to the open competitive market. Otherwise, DON'T expect to get reelected.

Clara Fowler
Clara Fowler

He does not represent me! Oh, he is my rep., but he is a puppet for those millionaries and billionaries.

C Van Wheeler
C Van Wheeler

Hell NO to single payer and your nut's if you think those countries are doing OK with Single Payer. Repeal Obamacare straight across the board and then work on a replacement over time. That way you can get what is best and gives us a moment to replace some of the Rhino's in Washington and then we can get a good health care system that gets the government out of it as it should be.... \U0001f60e

Gary Morris
Gary Morris

"In general, Isakson has been viewed as a loyal ally of party leaders such as McConnell." (AJC) A part of the problem not a part of the solution. We need a good primary opponent.

Anita Jones
Anita Jones

free market across state lines --no SOCIALISM

Don Brewer
Don Brewer

It ought to be obvious that we can't go back to the pre Obama care days. David Perdue, like Cruz, Rand, Lee and others would be happy to see that. If this country is so great then why the hell are we 34th in the world on healthcare. Any Republican plan so far might make us 50th.

Jay Faircloth
Jay Faircloth

Senator Isakson, do what the people of Georgia have elected you to do. Repeal Obamacare! If you can't do that, pack your bags. You're leaving DC!

Lee Larko
Lee Larko

Three words: Free market system, this is the answer. Insurance companies will continue to go along with a system that 1. Reduces competition 2. Requires by law you purchase their product. 3. Creates a system by which they are subsidized for their product. Model our Health Insurance after that of an auto insurance plan. Does it pay for an oil change, brakes, tires? No, neither should Health insurance. Does it pay if you are involved in an accident and not cover before hand? No, Neither should Health Insurance, that isn’t Insurance. Do not require everyone to have the same coverage. A man should not need to have OBGYN coverage. Tiered plans are the answer, like that of the Cruz amendment. We are tired of Politicians that are exempted from this dictating to us what we need to buy.

0.917166448284
0.917166448284

Three words: Free market system, this is the answer. Insurance companies will continue to go along with a system that 1. Reduces competition 2. Requires by law you purchase their product. 3. Creates a system by which they are subsidized for their product. Model our Health Insurance after that of an auto insurance plan. Does it pay for an oil change, brakes, tires? No, neither should Health insurance. Does it pay if you are involved in an accident and not cover before hand? No, Neither should Health Insurance, that isn’t Insurance. Do not require everyone to have the same coverage. A man should not need to have OBGYN coverage. Tiered plans are the answer, like that of the Cruz amendment. We are tired of Politicians that are exempted from this dictating to us what we need to buy.

Arthur Morin
Arthur Morin

Isakson is a RINO weenie. Enough already!

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Full Repeal. Free the market. Let insurance companies compete

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

There is NO right to insurance! There is a responsibility to you to take care of your health before you buy a big screen TV or A Car!

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

And watch premiums sky rocket when the uninsured are forced to go to the ER. You will pay in one way or another.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Exuse me. Before government interference and crony capitalism health insurance we didnt have an emergency room problem. We do now however.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

There are 24 million more Americans that have insurance under the ACA than before it (your 'free market'). And across the country ER waiting times have decreased significantly because more are insured and have primary care. If you take health insurance away from 24 million people, they will be forced back to the ER, and insurance companies determine their rates by the losses ER's take. So yes, your premiums will sky rocket and cause even more to become uninsured.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Ten to Twenty million at the point of a gun got thrown off of their much more affordable insurance and then got forced onto communist care. All they had to do was add the few without insurance to medicaid. But their intent wasnt to help anyone. It was to install socialist healthcare.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

Edward C Tracey, I don't think you understand socialized healthcare. And before the ACA 50 million (or more) Americans were without insurance...that's not a 'few.' And some states did expand Medicaid (which is socialist healthcare btw), my state didn't expand because it's a majority red and they'd rather us die, than accept help to help the less fortunate. And those that lost healthcare from their employer can blame their employer and the insurance companies.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Sll YOUR numbers are false your repeating democrat talking points. Besides, there are millions who are paying the penalty because they can't afford the outrageous premiums of communist forced insurance.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

And they are still uninsured. And you do understand that the government doesn't set the rates in the exchange...that's the insurance companies. Why should they make billions in profit off of our lives? You're only healthy until you're sick or hurt! We all need basic healthcare.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

The government does set the rates. The insurance companies pulling out of communist care are doing so because of the cap on pricing item by item.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

You are very misinformed. The ACA put a cap on what insurance companies could charge for pre-existing conditions. They do not set the prices. The insurance companies are pulling out of the exchange because they are greedy and put money before health. You won't be bitching when your Medicare kicks in...

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

It's not good unless it's accessible to everyone. I bet you claim to be pro-life too...\U0001f602

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Obama care does not provide access. It provides high unnafordable deductibles and premiums.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

I agree, but trumpcare will make it ten times worse. That's why we need single payer. That's the only way to make it accessible to everyone.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

If you want a socialist country, go to Canada or Europe. We want America to stay Free !!! No Government Insurance!!!!

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

If you vote people into office that would uninsure millions of people, you are not pro-life.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

That's baloney. No one in America gets refused care at a hospital!!!! No one!!! You're a communist!!

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

I don't think you understand what communism is. And yes hospitals treat you, but why should someone with a chronic disease be forced into the emergency room just to get their medication? Do you think your premiums will go down? No, they will double if not triple when your Sunkist Hitler repeals the ACA.

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

I know what a communist is. Katherine Erwin Bailey you might want to re examine it yourself.

Linda Collier
Linda Collier

I'm from Ga. And will decide who to vote for based on their vote for repealing Obamacare. I believe in term limits. Don't agree with you Katherine Erwin Bailey.

Robert Willett
Robert Willett

Term limits are now and always will be BS. Only elections can do that.

Katherine Erwin Bailey
Katherine Erwin Bailey

You don't have to agree with me, but I don't understand why you don't want basic coverage for everyone?

Sean Fleeman
Sean Fleeman

The only redeeming quality of Republicans is that they aren't Democrats, that's the only thing they have going for them, other than that they suck equally as bad.