Dear GOP Congress: Keep Your Promise on Obamacare or Face Eviction
Lost in all the shouting over the possible "repeal" of Obamacare and its stealth replacement by a Republican version midwifed in the dark by speaker-of-the-House-for-now Paul Ryan is the only thing that matters: if the GOP is seen to have welshed on its solemn promise to clean-repeal, it will pay with a historic wipeout in the polls next year. And two years after that. And two years after that. If Donald Trump wants to be a two-term president (or, given the level of hostility on the Left, which has been agitating for impeachment since Jan. 21, even a one-term president), he needs to recognize that reality. Because while the elephant may forget, its voting base surely won't.
The successful Republican takeback of the House, Senate and White House was in large part predicated on opposition to the Democrats' unconstitutional federal power grab via Obamacare. Forget "health care" or even "insurance." Obamacare was about neither of those things, but rather used them as a pretext to establish a new constitutional principle that the federal government, in collusion with the private sector, could force you at IRS gunpoint to purchase a product.
This, in case you haven't noticed, is the very definition of fascism, and it should have been stopped in the Supreme Court, but instead the spineless chief justice, John Roberts, spontaneously rewrote the law to turn the individual mandate into a "tax," and here we are.
It took President Barack Obama more than a year from his inauguration to get the Affordable Care Act passed by the skin of its teeth -- despite enjoying massive Congressional majorities. And now, after early reactions to the GOP's replacement plan, his successor and the Republican-controlled Congress are learning why reforming the U.S. health system is such a Sisyphean endeavor.
After months (well, technically, closer to a decade) of wait for an official Republican plan to replace Obamacare, the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees unleashed legislation dubbed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) late Monday that would nix the existing health law's unpopular mandate to buy insurance and pare back its far more popular expansion of Medicaid for the working poor, among other provisions.
But major policy shifts are all about tradeoffs. And in an attempt to simultaneously preserve some Obamacare-era protections for the 20 million-plus Americans covered under the law, while scrapping other provisions despised by a conservative Republican base, the House leadership appears to have galvanized just about everyone other than the White House against the plan.
There you have it. The Gruber-Pelosi-Reid-Obama Patient Deflection and Unaffordable Care Act was littered with landmines, which Ryan & Co. are now trying to negotiate their way through, instead of just nuking the whole thing from orbit and restoring the status quo, come what may. To do otherwise is pure political cowardice.