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Changing the ACA.

March 8, 2017

President Trump is now about to see why Congress got nothing done for eight years, and he doesn’t have to look left to capture that view.

The so-called Freedom Caucus has a plan. It’s called repeal, don’t replace Obamacare. Or at least don’t replace it any time soon. The new plan spends Federal money too, and they are not about to do that.

Of course it doesn’t help that the draft version uses the word amend liberally, or that it is a three-part plan.

If the ACA (as opposed to the AHCA, I suppose) was only a year or two old, that might work, but after seven years, the Obama plan is far too entrenched to just strike it from the record.

Nevertheless, that’s the alternative the Jim Jordan-led group is proposing.

The ultra-conservative wing of the GOP  has always had a take-no-prisoners, damn-the- torpedoes governing strategy.  That’s what cost Ted Cruz the presidency. When he said he would defund everything humanly possible to lower the national debt, people believed him.

When 30 or so House members say they will not vote for anything but repeal, the President should take them at their word.

The fact that they voted for most, if not all of the changes they now oppose, doesn’t matter. They also added the defunding of Planned Parenthood to their effort at that time, guaranteeing that President Obama would not sign it.

That’s essentially where they are going now. Just muck up the new legislation enough that it defeats itself.

No matter how much you hate Obamacare, it still provides a modicum of insurance to a lot of people that didn’t have any coverage before. Most of those people are insured under Medicaid, but the vehicle is still Obamacare.

If the Freedom Caucus can hold their members together, this new bill will never make it out of the House.

Like their Democrat counterparts, winning the fight is the goal, not winning the war.

To be fair, the proposed changes in Part One of the final legislation do result in Obamacare-lite. It gets rid of many of the things people don’t like about the ACA, but keeps many of the things that they do like.

Some of the more radical changes, like purchasing insurance across state lines are supposed to come along later That’s a problem, given that the Conservatives want the Federal government out of the health care business at any cost.

Moderate Republicans are between a rock and a hard place. Logistically there is no way that replacing the entire ACA all at once can happen quickly.  It would take too long to satisfy voters, and if the repeal part was done first, it might not ever happen.

The President is right when he says voters expect to see him move forward with fixing the ACA, not two or three years from now, but right now, in his first 100 days and moderates know that.

That means giving him something he can at least build upon, and that’s what they seem to be trying to do.

To his credit he is trying and he may truly believe that he can twist enough arms and make a strong enough public case to nullify the objections.

Just remember, it would take a net loss of 44 votes to stall the bill, since four Republican seats are now vacant pending replacement of those members who are now in the Executive branch.

If 30 of those stay together then the Republicans must hold most of the remaining 14 members.

If he is as on board with the new bill as he says, that’s where President Trump has to focus his efforts, not in trying to play let’s make a deal with the intransigent Freedom Caucus.

From → op-ed

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