On the Republican Obamacare Plan

On Beck’s show last week, I heard Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) note how the sitting members of the House Ways and Means Committee, in charge of the Obamacare replacement initiative, receive the most political contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

While GOP proponents of the recently-unveiled bill argue that an ‘Obamacare replacement’ will take 3 subsequent phases, the political question is whether an Obamacare Lite change gets renamed something like Ryancare or GOPcare or Trumpcare and Republicans then ‘own’ the issue of an already death-spiraling, failed, Obamacare model.

The GOP bill has gotten big thumbs down from the Freedom Caucus, The Heritage Foundation, the NR Editorial Board, and even Ann Coulter. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asks why Republicans aren’t introducing and voting on the “exact same” legislation that they sent to Obama when he held the presidency.

Philip Klein summarizes the (politically) pessimistic view of things, and how this current GOP bill is, ipso facto, a victory for Obama:

In releasing their healthcare plan on Monday, House Republican leaders sent a signal loud and clear: liberalism has already won.

Barring radical changes, Republicans will not be passing a bill that ushers in a new era of market-based healthcare. In reality, the GOP will either be passing legislation that rests on the same philosophical premise as Obamacare, or will pass nothing at all, and thus keep Obamacare itself in place….

Now to be clear, there are still arguments that can be made about whether, even in the face of these realities, it would be worth it for conservative members of Congress to suck it up for the bill. As I put it last week, “At some point, is Obamacare Lite better than Obamacare Heavy?” That is, whatever objections can be made about the GOP bill, there is an argument that conservatives should still vote for it because it taxes less, spends less and regulates less than would be the case if they torpedoed this bill and Obamacare remained intact. On the other hand, there is an argument that if conservatives know this bill is a turkey and will fail, it’s better that they don’t embrace it, so that the “free market” doesn’t get blamed for the failures of a big government policy. Also, there is an argument that left on its own, Obamacare will begin to fail as more insurers drop out of the market due to mounting losses…

Liberals, in other words, have won the central philosophical argument, and Republicans are reduced to fighting over the mechanics.

Is Trump and Company underestimating the profound political capital this GOP bill will expend?

We shall see.

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