It’s difficult to explain charitably what is taking place. It’s not as if Republicans had cloaked their intentions toward Obamacare. House Republicans voted several times during the Obama administration to fully repeal the former president’s signature law. They passed dozens upon dozens of measures to cripple the law. Time and again, in no uncertain terms, they promised repeal and a better system — better than Obamacare, and better the regulatory patchwork that preceded it.
Nor was time short. The Affordable Care Act was signed into law seven years ago this month. There has been no lack of debate during that time about the best strategies for reform, policy-wise and politically. Republican legislators have proposed several alternatives, and they have had ample time to hammer out a pleasing compromise.
But something else has happened: Finally in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, the GOP has proven gun-shy. Afraid of a strident reform that upsets anyone, they’ve put forward a timid reform that upsets everyone.
This is the kind of thing that happens when a party has no leaders.