But won't they be constrained by the likely political fallout? Aren't they sure to be punished at the ballot box if they make voters' lies significantly worse?
Not if they can share the blame. And to judge from this Wall Street Journal story, that's precisely what's going to happen:
Republicans on Capitol Hill are grappling with the likelihood that they will need Democratic support to pass parts of any plan replacing the Affordable Care Act....So there you go: Republicans will repeal Obamacare on a party-line vote, using reconciliation -- and then Democrats will be compelled to take joint ownership of its replacement. If they refuse, the replacement will be nothing -- and the consequences of that can be blamed on the Democrats as well.
With full control of Congress and the White House, Republicans have anticipated being able to repeal the law using a special budget maneuver that would allow them to get around a filibuster by Democrats in the Senate.
But to replace it, they likely would need the support from eight Democrats and all 52 Republicans in the Senate (if Republican John Kennedy wins a Dec. 10 runoff in Louisiana) to reach the 60 votes needed to clear the chamber’s procedural hurdles....
Lawmakers said they are likely to include a transition period phasing out the law when they repeal it. Republicans think that could help put pressure on Democrats to support a replacement.
Remember, Republicans will have the same highly effective noise machine they have now. If the replacement is, by some bizarre fluke, well constructed and highly popular, they'll take all the credit. If it isn't, they'll just remind everyone that it was a bipartisan effort, and Democrats poisoned it with injections of big-government socialist politically correct yadda yadda yadda.
So, no, I don't think they'll ever be blamed for what they're about to do.