At New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait considers the challenges Republicans face in fulfilling their pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
The most likely answer is that Republicans never craft a replacement. They repeal Obamacare, but delay the effective date of the repeal, and then Obamacare becomes a “cliff” that Congress votes to keep extending. There is no majority in Congress behind any one specific plan to replace Obamacare, but there is probably a majority against blowing it up immediately. That will likely become the new status quo. There’s no transition to a new plan. The transition is the plan. Or, at least, it will be.
Sahil Kapur reports that Republicans in Congress are contemplating a transition period that could last as long as four years. It is obviously ludicrous to rush to repeal the law while delaying the effective date of the repeal for four years. Arch-conservatives in Congress are already lobbying to move up the repeal date for this reason — but even if they succeed in phasing out Obamacare over two or three years rather than four, it just means that Congress will have to pass another extension. The most likely outcome is that Republicans keep extending the law until Democrats have the presidency again, at which point they’ll no longer have an incentive to prevent mass suffering, and can go back to opposing anything Democrats try to do to make the system work. Republicans just need to keep the system from collapsing on their watch.
That all seems very reassuring, but I think Chait seriously underestimates the GOP's willingness and ability to blow stuff up regardless of the consequences. They will blame the resulting chaos on Obama and the Democrats, and the "Keep the government out of my Medicare!" crowd will cheer them on.
This is the same brand of "Haha, there's no way that could ever happen" pundit nonsense that ushered His Supreme Vileness into the White House.