Republicans have now tried and failed, for the second time, to bring their version of Obamacare repeal-and-replace to a floor vote. And, when you consider what the latest version of the bill entailed, it’s not out of line to suggest that maybe their failure was for the best. After all, as several of the more conservative senators pointed out, there was a hell of a lot of the OLD healthcare law included in the new one. It was not, certainly, a full repeal of Obamacare by any stretch of the imagination. And bafflingly, even in its most impotent, state-expanding form, it was still too CONSERVATIVE for a few Republicans to wrap their minds around. Which should tell you quite a lot about the current state of the GOP.
But the question remains: What now?
President Trump is not giving up. He is putting additional pressure on Congress to come through on their promise to voters. But the fact remains that there is a seemingly unbridgeable divide between the various factions of the party. Slide the bill towards the more conservative end of the spectrum and you lose Susan Collins. Slide it towards the liberal end, and you lose Ted Cruz. And those two are just examples, because there are plenty of other Republican senators who have yet to see a bill that satisfies whatever they need to see to bring them to a “yes” vote.
Working with Democrats.
And THIS is where Mitch McConnell, Trump, Paul Ryan, and the rest of the GOP leadership must be very, very careful. It’s one thing to simply keep Obamacare in place. It’s quite another to organize a federal bailout for insurance companies in order to stabilize the failing markets. And it’s quite another INDEED to begin entertaining the BIG IDEA – the one Democrats have been quietly salivating over while Republicans fight their way to roadblock after roadblock.
From The Atlantic:
Emboldened by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat, and the Republican effort to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, progressive lawmakers and activists are trying to move single payer into the party mainstream. There are signs the idea is winning traction: For the first time ever, a majority of House Democrats have signed up to support “Medicare for all” single-payer legislation, a threshold crossed in the aftermath of the presidential election. A number of influential Senate Democrats have also expressed support for single payer in the midst of the current Republican health-care push, which is now in doubt as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes for an Obamacare repeal vote.
“If you’re serious about real health-care reform, it has got to be on the agenda, and I would hope that as many Democrats as possible support it,” Senator Bernie Sanders said in a recent interview after a rally against the GOP health-care bill in Kentucky, where he promised that “as soon as we defeat this terrible Republican proposal,” he would introduce his own Medicare-for-all legislation. “It’s going to be a tough fight,” Sanders said, “but it is a fight that has to be waged, because it is the only rational solution to the health-care crisis that we face.”
As The Atlantic signals, the idea – borrowed from our increasingly-socialized allies in Canada and Europe – has gone mainstream within the ranks of the Democratic Party. Al Gore made headlines this week when he endorsed the idea in a speech in New York City on Tuesday.
“The private sector has not shown any ability to provide good, affordable healthcare for all,” Gore said. “I believe we out to have single-payer healthcare.”
Republicans, including the president, appear to understand how disastrous this would be for U.S. healthcare, to say nothing of the economy. Then again, they seemed to understand for years that it was not an option to keep Obamacare around. Things change.
This entire fiasco should be included in every conservative manual from here on out to demonstrate the dangers of letting a state-expanding entitlement take root. The left’s programs ALWAYS, ALWAYS fail, and the answer is ALWAYS, ALWAYS to double down on exactly what made the original disaster so terrible.