September 14, 2017

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Latest (Dim, Distant) Hope for Health-Care Reform.

The latest bedside miracle is the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal, which would cut spending, cap spending, and shift spending away from states that expanded Medicaid to those that haven’t. At the same time, it would give states considerable discretion to design local solutions for health-care provision, something that, as I’ve noted before, is likely to be the key to getting us out of the morass in which we’re currently mired with Obamacare.

Is this the turn? Has the fever broken? Or is this just a stalling tactic, before more agonizing months and years, before the patient is finally pronounced truly and utterly dead?

Well, the political math certainly looks difficult. Republicans hold a majority in both houses, but their Senate majority is narrow enough to give them precious little wiggle room when it comes to passing a bill. Considering that Rand Paul has already been pretty negative about the bill, that wiggle will have to be more like a tremor: If Rand won’t back the proposal, they’ll need either Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, who have so far proven unwilling to vote for previous iterations of GOP reform ideas.

Moreover, they’re going to have to shimmy pretty quick. This bill is not, needless to say, going to garner Democratic votes. Democrats don’t want to do anything to Obamacare except pour more money into it.

When all you have is somebody else’s checkbook, everything looks like a spending problem.