In an interview with Fox News earlier this week, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said the Republicans may be looking at a grim election in 2018, thanks to their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I think it’s ruinous,” Krauthammer said when asked how the failed healthcare bill could affect the next election. “This is not just a promise betrayed. It is a complete inability to govern, particularly you’ve been arguing for something for seven years. It arrives and you are then unprepared.”
He predicted that the party would return to healthcare once the current Obamacare markets began to unravel.
“I think the time it comes back is in the fall when you get the new numbers,” he said. “New premiums coming out. They’re going to be much higher, fewer choices. Far more insurers are going to be withdrawing from the exchanges. At that point, I think there will be an opportunity.”
Right now, though, nearly everyone in the Republican Party believes that the opportunity has already come and gone. Some are blaming President Trump. Others are blaming Paul Ryan. Trump and Ryan are blaming the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus is saying the bill was objectively terrible. And Democrats are sitting back and having a long, hard laugh about the party’s divisions.
One of two things is going to happen next. Either Obamacare will continue to be “okay,” and the skyrocketing premiums of recent years will begin to level out or it will implode, leaving the nation in an economic and socio-political crisis. If the former happens, Democrats will play clips of Trump and other Republicans telling Americans that Obamacare was in a death spiral, making them look like liars. If the latter happens, the political chaos will be so extraordinary that you can’t even predict what might happen.
It didn’t – and doesn’t – have to be this uncertain and self-destructive. Republicans need to make a choice. If you’re not going to repeal Obamacare – if you’re simply going to say “deal with it” when voters ask you why you lied – then embrace your decision. Work with Dems and make sure Obamacare is as strong as it possibly can be. Why not? You can’t possibly do any more damage to your chances of re-election.
Or, you can choose to simply repeal Obamacare. You can just do it. You can live up to your promises, live up to your rhetoric, and pass the bill you passed more than 50 times when it was “safe” to do so.
The only other choice left is cowardice. Hypocrisy. Disaster, for the party and for the country.
Why make that choice?