Con­ser­va­tives scoff at roll­back

The Mercury News - - Other Views - By Paige Winfield Cun­ning­ham The Wash­ing­ton Post

Repub­li­cans in Con­gress aren’t off the hook for fail­ing to make good on their prom­ise to re­peal Oba­macare, even with the shiny new ex­ec­u­tive or­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is pre­par­ing to roll out this week, con­ser­va­tive ac­tivists in­sist.

“Ha! Not even close,” Her­itage Ac­tion spokesman Dan Holler wrote in an email Tues­day, af­ter he was asked whether the ex­ec­u­tive or­der eases pres­sure on Repub­li­cans in the House and Sen­ate.

Her­itage and other con­ser­va­tive groups were se­verely dis­ap­pointed as the GOP-led Con­gress they’d helped elect crashed and burned on their dear­est leg­isla­tive pri­or­ity — re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act.

“It’s a huge dis­ap­point­ment, a huge let­down,” said Ja­son Pye of Free­domWorks. Pye said he wrote an in­ter­nal 46-page ret­ro­spec­tive on how the whole thing went down over the spring and sum­mer as the House strug­gled to pass its health care bill and then the Sen­ate tried but failed to muster enough votes.

“That’s one thing I think con­ser­va­tives are tak­ing so­lace in right now — there are some great con­ser­va­tives run­ning in 2018,” Pye said.

There’s also a Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dent de­ter­mined to say he de­liv­ered on his Oba­macare re­peal prom­ises. This week, Trump and his White House are putting the fin­ish­ing touches on an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ex­pand­ing health as­so­ci­a­tion plans aimed at pro­vid­ing more peo­ple with low­er­cost in­sur­ance op­tions. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been in­volved, too.

With­out de­tails, it’s hard to say how many peo­ple would have ac­cess to th­ese plans, or whether they’d prompt any sig­nif­i­cant changes in the in­sur­ance mar­kets. Many in­sur­ance ex­perts are warn­ing it could fur­ther desta­bi­lize the in­di­vid­ual mar­ket if enough healthy peo­ple choose leaner health as­so­ci­a­tion plans, tilt­ing the mar­ket­places to­ward sicker, more ex­pen­sive pa­tients.

Nonethe­less, Trump is fram­ing his up­com­ing ac­tion this way: Con­gress is lame. So he’s sav­ing peo­ple from the evils of Oba­macare by tak­ing mat­ters into his own hands.

“Ul­ti­mately, Con­gress and the ad­min­is­tra­tion will need to de­liver on their prom­ise to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare if we are go­ing to have an ac­tual con­sumer-ori­ented health in­sur­ance sys­tem,” Holler wrote.

An ex­ec­u­tive or­der just doesn’t sat­isfy con­ser­va­tives’ en­dur­ing hunger for to­tal elim­i­na­tion of the ACA, a task that ap­pears im­pos­si­ble with the slim 52-48 GOP Sen­ate ma­jor­ity.

“At the end of the day there’s no sub­sti­tute for leg­is­la­tion, so we still be­lieve for Con­gress a top pri­or­ity should be to re­peal Oba­macare,” said Ge­off Holtz­man of Free­dom Part­ners, a group funded by the Koch broth­ers net­work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.