The Coming GOP Electoral 'Health Care' Disaster

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.