Yet an­other GOP health care bill bites the dust

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This ap­peared in the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch: This week’s fail­ure of the Bet­ter Care Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act, ver­sion 5.0 of the Re­pub­li­can health care plan, can best be un­der­stood by re­view­ing two fa­mous state­ments Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump made about health care pol­icy.

Very early in his cam­paign for pres­i­dent, Trump promised that the Af­ford­able Care Act would be re­pealed and re­placed with “some­thing ter­rific.”

Eigh­teen months later, very early in his pres­i­dency, af­ter ac­tu­ally learn­ing some­thing about health care pol­icy, Trump said, “No­body knew that health care could be so com­pli­cated.”

In fact, any­one who’s paid the slight­est bit of at­ten­tion to the sys­tem that ac­counts for one-sixth of the Amer­i­can econ­omy knows health care is hideously com­pli­cated. The 2010 ACA was a rare at­tempt to make it work bet­ter for more Amer­i­cans. Pass­ing it was dif­fi­cult, but the longer Amer­i­cans had to get used to it, the more they liked it.

In a nut­shell, that’s why Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., was un­able to round up the votes he needed to move for­ward with the BCRA — even af­ter fi­nagling the rules so he only needed 50 votes. It was not the “some­thing ter­rific” that Trump promised. It was some­thing ter­ri­ble.

The BCRA failed be­cause Sen. John McCain, RAriz., needed time to re­cover from surgery last Fri­day to have a blood clot re­moved. McCon­nell needed McCain’s vote, but in McCain’s ab­sence, pres­sure built on GOP sen­a­tors who didn’t like the bill.

Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Mo­ran of Kansas an­nounced Mon­day night they would join two other GOP sen­a­tors in vot­ing against it. With­out them and McCain, McCon­nell had only 47 votes. He laid the bill aside.

Health in­sur­ance is com­pli­cated be­cause ev­ery part of it af­fects ev­ery other part. The ACA be­gan ad­dress­ing that, and while it’s not per­fect, Amer­i­cans got used to some­thing bet­ter.

Trump clearly doesn’t un­der­stand the is­sue, and hav­ing seen him break one cam­paign prom­ise af­ter an­other, there’s no rea­son to bet on “some­thing ter­rific” down the road.

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