It is ironic, but somehow fitting, that the illness of one of the worst men in American political life should be the thing that might save the Republican Party from the ineptitude of its leadership and its own cowardly instincts. I’m referring, of course, to John McCain, a man who’s been in the public eye since his Vietnam captivity in the 1960s and has contributed exactly nothing since to the country he professes to serve. So maybe inadvertently delaying the “health care plan” vote in the Senate, if that can enable its defeat, is the way McCain can finally make up for his years as a showboating, self-aggrandizing “maverick” who never met a political friend he didn’t want to stab in the back, nor enemy he didn’t wish to cozy up to.
The Senate will defer consideration of the GOP healthcare plan that would partially repeal and replace Obamacare until Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., returns to work following a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement late Saturday.
After wishing him a “speedy recovery,” McConnell, R-Ky., added: “While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act.”
“Better Care,” my foot. The Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell bill to “improve” Obamacare will go down in electoral history as the Thing that Destroyed the GOP if it is not permanently shelved. The attempt to repeal the Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act that the Democrats shoved down the throat of the American public on Christmas Eve, 2009, has been going on since the midterm elections of 2010, which restored the House to Republican control. Somewhere along the way, however — we might formally date it from the sacking of former speaker John Boehner and his replacement by someone even worse, Paul Ryan –“repeal” was exposed as the entirely fictive construct that somehow we all knew it would turn out to be, and was replaced by “repeal and replace.”
That is something that exactly nobody voted for in the three straight congressional elections of 2010, 2012 and 2014, and in the presidential election last year, but never mind. Ryan, a born swampcritter and Beltway wonk, decided that what America needed was not a return to the status quo ante of 2008, but an excuse to impose his own notion of what government-run “health care” ought to look like. And impose it he did, with his endless tweeting about “a better way,” and with the delivery of something called the American Health Care Act, known in the Senate as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Like Obamacare, it deserves an honored but cautionary place on the ash heap of American history.
First off, nothing we are talking about here has anything to do with “health care.” Health care is when your family doctor arrives at your sickbed to diagnose you and prescribe medication. Rather, the congressional bills have to do with medical insurance, which is something entirely separate and apart from health care — although leave it to both parties to deliberately confuse the two in order to play on taxpayers’ emotions and deceive them as to Washington’s real intentions.
Obamacare established the notion that the federal government has the right to meddle in private medical business, mostly on the Leftist premise that “all civilized countries have government health care.” What’s left unsaid is that those countries (mostly European) inflict a stupefying level of personal taxation that most productive Americans would find unacceptable; that the medical delivery system must and does impose triangulation and rationing on the public; and that so-called “single-payer” health care varies in its efficiency from country to country. Germany’s is — or was, until Frau Kartoffel’s Muslims showed up — pretty good, whereas the term “British medicine” is a joke for a very good reason.
The GOP gains in Congress were predicated on the complete rollback of Obamacare, first on principle and second on delivery. For the thing, of course, turned out to be a lie: you couldn’t keep your plan, or your doctor. Nor was Obamacare “health care,” or even medical insurance for that matter. If you were productive, you were forced to buy a government-mandated policy at IRS gunpoint, and if you weren’t, you were shuffled onto Medicaid — which is not medical insurance at all, but a welfare program. Chief Justice John Roberts was, alas, right — Obamacare was neither medical care nor insurance, but a tax, largely on the middle class.
All taxpaying Americans desired, therefore, was Repeal — not Replace. Nobody asked for Replace. Nobody wants Replace — except, naturally, the Beltway Busybodies, who never met an intrusive program or a new tax they didn’t love. I’ve been warning on Twitter for months now that the worst thing that could possibly happen to the GOP is that they somehow get Replace passed. Why? Because then they own the hot potato of Obamacare forever, and will be punished accordingly.
Swamp things like Ryan and McConnell, however, define their self-worth not as serving the public, or fidelity to the Constitution, but by passing legislation, which they curiously define as “getting things done.” But as with doctors, the Congressional Oath should begin with, “first, do no harm.” That’s why I said before the 2014 midterms that the ideal outcome in the Senate would be a Republican victory and a McConnell defeat in Kentucky. “Leaders” in the Senate come cheap, as every senator sees himself as a president-in-waiting (even Ted Cruz, whose chance at being popularly elected to the White House is somewhat less than Vladimir Putin’s); even Trump’s naked attempt to curry favor with the majority leader by appointing Mrs. McConnell, Elain Chao, to the useless sinecure of secretary of transportation has failed to light a fire under Yertle the Turtle.
Republicans, in other words, have made the soon-to-be-fatal error of thinking that the American public put them in charge of 3/3 of 100 percent of the federal government because the voters like them. Not so: the voters properly despise them. It’s just that they — temporarily — despise them less than they despise the Democrats, who under Obama have suffered historic losses at all levels of government and have been — temporarily — reduced to rump status in a few holdout coastal and central/midwestern areas of high minority voters and Hispanic immigration, legal or otherwise. Behold the results of Obamacare on the Democrat Party.
It won’t take much, however, to flip this map. If the GOP succeeds in saddling Americans with Paul Ryan’s supererogatory “health care” plan, then they’re going to get everything they deserve at the ballot box next year, especially if the media’s prolonged assault on the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency continues without any meaningful pushback from the very GOP that stands to suffer in 2018.
So maybe the White House finally has the right idea:
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
Sin in haste, repent at leisure, as the old maxim goes. The moral thing for the Republicans to do is Repeal as promised; and then and only then work with Democrats and the public in order to meld American principles of personal autonomy and self-reliance with widely accepted social safety net measures that won’t bankrupt the system any more than it already is. Some kind of catastrophic insurance, available to all at a nominal premium, would seem to cover it, along with de-insuring deleterious lifestyle choices like smoking except at the cost of very high premiums.
The key here is principle. Getting the government out of the private businesses of medical care and deregulating medical insurance would go a long way to improving the American health-care system, and it wouldn’t cost a dime. If you think there’s a Better Way… there isn’t.