Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Silver Lining in the Failure of the Republican Healthcare Bill

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Paris Procopis
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By now everyone has certainly heard of the demise of the Republican attempt to, sort of, replace Obamacare. If one were to believe the headlines, the demise of the Republican party itself is close at hand. Even many Republicans around the country have given up any hope of saving the nation from Obamacare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I refuse to give up the fight.

The ineptly named American Health Care Act, or AHCA as it is also known, was ridiculed by many Conservatives from the moment it was made public. The moderates thought it left too many people without coverage and the Freedom Caucus vociferously focused the fact that it left Obamacare largely intact because final repeal didn’t come until a phase 3 bill to be determined later.

In defending the bill, Speaker Paul Ryan said that they Republicans have been working on this version for over a year and that because of the reconciliation rules of the Senate, this was the best that could be done and every Conservative reform that could pass the Senate was in there. President Trump even championed the bill because Obamacare was about to implode and we needed to do something.

But in the end, support dwindled and Speaker Ryan was forced the bill before the vote. Of course, the Liberal media was touting this as a huge defeat for President Trump and that his Presidency has been effectively neutered. WRONG. Anyone who knows anything about President Trump knows that he does not like to lose.

The AHCA not passing was the best thing that could happen for the Republicans.

To understand what I mean, let’s go back to how Obamacare originally passed. If you recall, the ACA was the ‘wrong’ bill but it was the only way the Democrats could get something passed. The original Senate bill was incomplete and was intended to be fixed in committee after being combined with the House bill. Instead, the Senate version became the main bill and the rest was history.

Even President Obama said it could be ‘fixed’ after the fact. So, an effort to pass something, anything, is what gave life to Obamacare to begin with. This heavily flawed, incomplete law that was dependent on promised ‘future’ fixes. Sound familiar? That line of thinking cost the Democrats dearly once the flawed law was becoming implemented and the same would happen to the Republicans because likely phase 2 and phase 3 might never materialize.

Add to that is the fact that not even the American people supported this approach even though they overwhelmingly hate Obamacare and this would have been the recipe for disaster for the Republicans.

Now we can work on getting a better bill that includes everything needed to address Obamacare once and for all. It is very possible. Over the past seven years, Congress has voted over 60 times to repeal Obamacare. Reconciliation rules of the senate is nothing but an excuse. In 2015, a repeal bill was passed by both houses and sent to Obama’s desk with hardly a whisper of reconciliation.

This begs the question of why is Congress able to pass a ‘symbolic’ repeal when it doesn’t matter, but refuses to even consider a real repeal when it matters?

No, I am not expecting perfection. The full, immediate repeal ship sailed in 2012. Mitt Romney could have had an immediate repeal because the law hadn’t been fully entrenched yet. Unfortunately, too many Conservatives stayed home election day because Mitt Romney was not ‘Conservative enough.’ But I digress.

Today, millions are covered by Obamacare because they had no choice due to employers dropping insurance coverage, or etc. It will need to be phased out over a time period. My plan would be to have full repeal with a 24 month sunset. That would be plenty of time to get different coverage and for Congress to come up with better insurance rules.

President Trump and the Congress now have the opportunity to come together and come up with something better than AHCA. No more cramming ‘secret’ plans down our throats with little time to analyze. Obamacare is collapsing but it is not like something has to be passed tomorrow. The plan needs to be OPENLY developed over time then proudly shown to the American people.

Paul Ryan and the Establishment types need to grow a spine and the Freedom Caucus members need to be a little more pragmatic.

Doing nothing is not an option, not trying again is not an option. At the same time, mediocrity is not an option. Swing for the fences, put everything in there with the hope of keeping most. As Obamacare collapses, the masses will blame Republicans because it fell apart on their watch. Trump is correct that the Democrats totally own Obamacare, but he should know by now that the media will never blame them.

One final point, it is time establishment Republicans stop blaming the Freedom Caucus, after all, aren’t all Republicans supposed to be part of the Freedom Caucus? It’s time to start acting like it.

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