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Obamacare Repeal, Take Two

GOP TRIES AGAIN ON HEALTH CARE … Republicans in the U.S. Congress had one job.  Seriously.  One. Friggin’. Job. For the last six years, the party of “limited government” has vowed it would repeal former U.S. president Barack Obama’s socialized medicine monstrosity: Obamacare. In fact this oft-repeated promise won the…

GOP TRIES AGAIN ON HEALTH CARE …

Republicans in the U.S. Congress had one job.  Seriously.  One. Friggin’. Job.

For the last six years, the party of “limited government” has vowed it would repeal former U.S. president Barack Obama’s socialized medicine monstrosity: Obamacare.

In fact this oft-repeated promise won the GOP control over the U.S. House (in 2011), the U.S. Senate (in 2015) and the White House (in 2017).

But then a few polls were rigged.  And some numbers fudged.  And all of a sudden, repeal went from behind a sure thing to being dead in the water.

What happened?  Isn’t this what the GOP was elected to do?

The first issue we need to understand is that Republicans weren’t pushing a full repeal bill, they were pushing a partial repeal – which immediately created a climate of confusion.

Which parts of the law were being repealed?  Which weren’t?

No American struggling to make ends meet had any time to ponder – let alone dive into – such specifics.   But plenty of them had time to ask themselves the following question ….

Why isn’t the GOP doing what it said it was going to do?

Into this arena of legislative uncertainty stepped the rhetorical infallibility of America’s ideological fringes: On the one hand there were “progressives” who claimed a partial repeal would leave people dying on the streets of all sorts of terrible diseases.  On the other hand there were recalcitrant “alt-righters” who insisted nothing short of a full repeal would be acceptable.

(Count us in with the latter group, for the record).

Ultimately, efforts to create a working majority on partial repeal were confronted by an impossible calculus on Capitol Hill.  In an attempt to lure conservatives to the bill, GOP leaders and the White House agreed to drop the “essential health benefits” requirement of Obamacare (i.e. the part of the law that establishes which particular benefits health care plans are required to cover).

Not only did this effort fail to sway these conservative members, it actually cost them votes with moderate Republicans – who as we’ve repeatedly pointed out in the past might as well caucus with the Democrats.

“It’s impossible to please both sides,” one well-placed health care lobbyist explained to us.  “The problem is any concessions to the Freedom Caucus are turn-offs for the moderates.  So they lose both sides.”

That’s exactly what happened.

(Click to view)

(Via The White House)

The whole charade not only resulted in Obamacare being upheld as the law of the land, it seriously damaged the populist bona fides of new president Donald Trump.  Eager for a legislative victory, Trump embraced the GOP establishment’s partial repeal bill (which we suppose was defensible) but when things fell apart he and his minions proceeded to attack conservative Republicans who blocked the legislation.

That was completely indefensible in our book … not to mention completely inconsistent with the sort of administration Trump promised the American people.

What a mess …

Attempting to pick up the pieces, the White House has launched a new effort to sway conservative lawmakers to its side.

Trump’s vice president Mike Pence, budget director Mick Mulvaney and chief of staff Reince Priebus held meetings with conservative lawmakers over the weekend, according to Freedom Caucus leader U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

“They’ve laid out a plan,” Meadows told reporters, adding that he and his allies “remain open-minded and willing to look in detail at the details of the plan.”

Meanwhile Trump and Mulvaney talked health care over a weekend round of golf with U.S. Senator Rand Paul – another opponent of the partial repeal bill that failed to receive a vote in the U.S. House.

“I continue to be very optimistic that we are getting closer and closer to an agreement on repealing Obamacare,” Paul said after the round.

Is this optimism well-placed?

We shall see …

Frankly, we can’t see what has changed in the last two weeks other than we are now two weeks deeper into a “Republican” reign that has failed to do the one thing it promised.

Banner via iStock

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