I couldn’t agree more with my one-time colleague Andrew Malcolm:
It’s worse than embarrassing. After seven long years of Obamacare opposition, Republicans couldn’t agree on what to repeal and what to substitute. Seriously?
Fortunately, repealing and replacing Obamcare isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, it’s clear that this group of Republicans is the one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.
Indeed, what the collapse of the proposed “American Health Care Act” — a.k.a. RINOcare — showed is that it’s ineptitude all the way down.
Moderate Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Bridge To Nowhere) don’t understand that health insurance markets won’t work if consumers can wait until they get sick to sign up for coverage. President Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon don’t understand that issuing ultimatums to members of Congress is a really bad idea.
And, as happy as I am that conservative Republicans like those in the House Freedom Caucus stopped such an awful piece of legislation, they don’t seem to understand that a guarantee that everyone who is currently insured under the exchanges won’t become uninsured must be front-and-center in any effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
But, right now he-who-is-most-inept is clearly the person in charge of the House of Representatives:
We know the strategy – grind out win after win, big and small, over time until the liberals are broken. It’s the tactics that [Speaker Paul] Ryan has botched; he’s shown no aptitude for the basic blocking and tackling of legislating and consistently falls back on the errors of the past. Here’s how healthcare should have gone. Paully, starting the morning of November 9th, you should have orchestrated an inclusive effort to create a bill based on a consensus that incorporated every stakeholder with the ability to icepick it (the transition team, the Freedom Caucus, the squishes, the think tanks, and most vitally, the Senate). Once you had something everyone agreed on – and 216 sure votes in the House and 51 in the Senate – you all appear with the Prez in front of the cameras to announce it before you actually put out the document, thereby cementing in the narrative about why the people should dig it before the haters can hate it into little pieces. Then you pass it and win.
However, Ryan isn’t going anywhere for the time being, so here’s what he should do now: First, move on to another part of the Trump agenda that should be easier to pass, such as tax reform. Get a solid bill to Trump’s desk by May. Hype the signing ceremony as much as possible so that the RINOcare debacle becomes a distant memory.
Second, get members of the GOP caucus working on a true repeal and replacement of Obamacare. If need be, appoint a working group. (Yes, a very “inside D.C.” solution, but sometimes it works.) Include both members of the House Freedom Caucus and GOP moderates in the working group. Next, give them ample time to come up with a bill. Don’t set a deadline any earlier than late June.
Be willing to give them more time if needed.
Finally, in addition to dealing with Obamacare, task them with coming up with a way to slowly unwind the employer-based health insurance system. This is one of the biggest causes of rising health care and insurance costs. It’s those rising costs that give Democrats and others on the Left a potent propaganda weapon to push for government-run health care.
Eliminating the employer-based system is the key to preventing future Obamacares.
Getting that done, though, requires some semblance of competence. Right now, no one with brains has the slightest confidence that the Beltway GOP has any.