Today at 3:30pm the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. Whatever the outcome of the vote, the president is being sabotaged by Paul Ryan and other (((moderate))) Republicans.
Even with the tweaks made in effort to appease conservatives, the proposed measure will do little to alleviate the catastrophic and predictable consequences of the current law. As long as the federal government compels insurance companies to cover so called “pre-existing conditions” it is impossible to have a private health insurance industry without massive government subsidies. That of course, was the entire purpose of the ACA in the first place. Democrats set out to destroy the private healthcare market, with the intent of nationalizing it when costs became so high that nobody could afford it. That collapse is upon us, and whatever token effort the GOP makes to mitigate the damage, they will be bailing out Democrats at the expense of the President.
Any purported plan to have a second and third phase of the process will be sabotaged by this fact. In order to pass more meaningful reforms, the GOP will need to gain at least 8 seats in the Senate, and since most Senate Republicans might as well be Democrats, we would realistically need a lot more than that. This is going to be impossible when the liberal media is fed millions of disaffected sick people who lost their insurance subsidies. Every problem resulting from the passage of this bill will have blame placed directly on the shoulders of President Trump and congressional Republicans. Every resource at the disposal of the Democrat party and other leftist institutions will be poured into focusing on the perceived negative consequences of its passage, and barely any Democrats will miss the opportunity to show up at the voting booth in 2018 and 2020 to make their dissatisfaction known. In short, the passage of this bill will directly result in the loss of Republican political power, rendering impossible any attempt to pass greater reforms in the future.
Rand Paul seems to be about the only voice of reason on the subject, even if his reasoning is a tad off. He suggests passing a bill to repeal Obamacare, to the extent such a thing can be done through the reconciliation process, bypassing the need for 60 votes in the Senate. He then suggests a replacement bill should be voted on the same day, and he seems to mistakenly believe this will result in a more conservative outcome.
The advantage of passing the repeal separately from the replacement is not that it will result in a more conservative outcome, but rather that it will compel the cooperation of Democrats. If Obamacare is repealed outright, with no replacement at all, I predict that some number of Democrats would be willing to vote with moderate Republicans on a replacement plan that keeps such measures as the purpose defeating compulsory coverage of “pre-existing conditions”.
That cooperation will serve as fuel for primary challenges against congressional Republicans who would sooner vote with Democrats than their fellow Republicans to the right. It also gives the impression of bipartisan support, which some Americans are stupid enough to believe is a positive. More importantly, it will mitigate the blame Republicans take for the fallout, thereby preserving some chance of obtaining greater majorities in the next two elections.
I for one have a difficult time believing that any of this is lost on Paul Ryan. He is sabotaging the Trump administration on purpose, the same way he did when he called Trump’s comments about a La Raza member “the definition of a racist comment”. For Ryan, this vote is a win-win. Either the bill will pass, and its disastrous consequences will be blamed on the president, or the bill will fail and the President will look weak. The only thing Paul Ryan has to avoid in order to accomplish his goals, is something that actually improves the conditions of the American economy.
Our only hope is that President Trump is already aware of this on some level. One could imagine a shrewd negotiator like Donald Trump feigning ignorance and playing the sucker right now, as a longer term strategy to purge the GOP of saboteurs like Ryan at a later date. If Ryan tanks healthcare reform now, few would blame the President for financing a primary challenger in 2018, and we can all but guarantee a new Speaker of the House as Ryan’s last shreds of credibility fade from the minds of the public.
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