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Johnson Suggests GOP Will Seek to Repeal Affordable Care Act If They Win in 2024

A majority of Johnson’s constituents in Wisconsin oppose efforts to repeal the popular health care law.

Chairman Ron Johnson arrives for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on December 16, 2020.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) suggested in an interview on Monday that if Republicans win control of Congress and the White House in 2024, they will work to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a move they’ve attempted dozens of times without success.

The law is popular throughout the U.S. and is viewed favorably by a majority of Johnson’s constituents in Wisconsin. But Johnson’s comments on Monday seemed to imply that Republicans would continue trying to undermine or repeal the law should they regain power in Washington.

During a podcast interview with Breitbart, Johnson said that if Republicans won in 2024, it would allow them to “actually make good on what we established as our priorities.”

“If we were going to repeal and replace Obamacare — I still think we need to fix our health-care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail,” Johnson said, referencing the last time Republicans took control of both houses of Congress.

For now, Johnson added, the GOP’s goal will be blocking President Joe Biden’s agenda if they win the 2022 midterms later this year.

Johnson, who is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators running for re-election in this year’s midterm races, was immediately criticized for his statement.

“Voters are learning exactly what Republicans will do with a Senate majority, in their own words: raise taxes on seniors and working families, end Medicare and Social Security — and once again try to spike the cost of health care while ripping away coverage protections from Americans with pre-existing conditions,” a statement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee read.

Later on Monday, Johnson attempted to walk back his statements on repealing the ACA, saying that he was only using the GOP’s 2017 attempt to repeal the law as an “example” of how Republicans failed in the past, and how they should change their strategies in the future.

“I was not suggesting repealing and replacing Obamacare should be one of [the] priorities” for Republicans, he said. “Even when we tried and failed, I consistently said our effort should focus on repairing the damage done by Obamacare and transitioning to a health system that works.”

Although Johnson claimed that criticisms of his original comments were “false attacks” against him, he did not say if he supported keeping the law in place.

However, Johnson has been an ardent opponent of the ACA, and has voted consistently to repeal it at almost every possible opportunity. Even after Republicans moved on from attempts to repeal the ACA in 2017, the Wisconsin senator still insisted that the party should continue efforts to scrap the law.

In addition to speaking out against the law more generally, Johnson has also voiced opposition to popular aspects of the law. He has proposed eliminating restrictions that prevent companies from using pre-existing conditions as a pretext to deny patients care, for example.

Even though many election experts believe this year will result in huge wins for Republicans, Johnson faces difficult chances at reelection. A recent Marquette University Law School poll shows that only 33 percent of Wisconsin residents approve of the Republican senator, while 45 percent disapprove.

It’s likely that much of this disapproval is the result of Johnson’s comments throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as the lawmaker falsely claimed that vaccines were harming athletes and peddled unproven treatments for COVID while deriding prevention methods against the virus that actually worked. Johnson has also reneged on a promise to adhere to self-imposed term limits. After promising voters that he would only serve two terms in office, Johnson announced earlier this year that he would be running for a third term.

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