Coming up with a bill that managed to get no bipartisan support, excited no part of their own party, writing it in secret without members even fully understanding it, then rushing to pass it shows a tone-deafness unlike any since Alanis Morissette.
The most amazing thing about this strategy is that Republicans willingly chose it. There was no urgency, no huge demand, no extenuating circumstances that forced them to rush a bill like this through. They could have just repealed and replaced later, fulfilling their promises to conservatives; or put together a well-thought-out, collaborative replacement bill later this year that reflected a great amount of research and consensus.
Or they could have done nothing, content that Obamacare would continue to implode on its own. Choosing none of these paths is baffling.
So what should they have done differently? Well, like most other parties, the most important thing for Republicans, as with most political parties in the world, is to stay in power. Approaching Obamacare as I describe below would maximize this goal.
That’s not to say it would lead to the best health-care bill possible, or even the best health insurance bill possible, and certainly not the best health care possible. But it would allow Republicans to fulfill a core promise to supporters, retain the legislative majorities necessary during President Trump’s term to pass other important things like deregulation, immigration reform, and tax reform, and likely minimize the long-term political fallout as much as one can when trying to reconfigure such a complex issue as health care.
1. Repeal Obamacare Completely, Effective in 2020 …
2. Immediately Stop Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion …
3. Vote Through Popular, Bipartisan Single-Issue Fixes