Sav­ing Oba­macare re­peal, again

The Repub­li­cans take more time to mea­sure it to avoid cut­ting it twice

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

“Mea­sure it twice and cut it once” is al­ways bet­ter than “mea­sure it once and cut it twice.” That’s Mitch McConnell’s strategy for get­ting the health-care re­peal and re­place leg­is­la­tion through the U.S. Se­nate, and if it in­vites sneers from the Democrats and the pun­dits and other deal­ers in columny, so what. Stitch­ing to­gether smart leg­is­la­tion is never easy. The Fourth of July is not a dead­line.

In­deed, if Barack Obama had taken the time, trou­ble and com­pas­sion to mea­sure Oba­macare, which is what ev­ery­one calls the Af­ford­able Care Act, at least twice, and to take into ac­count the con­cerns of Repub­li­cans and other con­ser­va­tives, he might have come up with health care that oth­ers would be ea­ger to share. But he didn’t, pre­fer­ring to com­pel rather than per­suade.

There’s no bi­par­ti­san mea­sur­ing this time, ei­ther, but the Democrats have no in­ter­est in al­ter­ing Oba­macare, even as it im­plodes around the edges a lit­tle bit ev­ery day, wait­ing for the ex­plo­sion that will put it in com­plete ru­ins. Nancy Pelosi spec­u­lated that Congress had to en­act Oba­macare to see what was in it, and she led the Demo­cratic Congress to en­act it. Now ev­ery­body sees the aw­ful stuff that’s in it. Oba­macare is Barack Obama’s legacy, and he and his friends in Congress in­sist on sav­ing it at all cost, which will be con­sid­er­able.

The Repub­li­cans, for their part, were loud and brave in de­nounc­ing Oba­macare through two Obama terms, and they should have been ready with a re­place­ment when they took back the White House. But, like ev­ery­one else, they never ex­pected Don­ald Trump to take back the White House. Hil­lary Clin­ton was the in­evitable president for a sec­ond time. The Repub­li­cans weren’t ready with the re­place­ment be­cause they, too, thought they would have an­other four years, and maybe more, to con­tinue rail­ing about Oba­macare. It was fun while it lasted.

Any re­peal­ing leg­is­la­tion would be dif­fi­cult, as we have seen with a suc­ces­sion of failed at­tempts, first in the House be­fore the lead­er­ship cob­bled to­gether some­thing pass­able, and now in the Se­nate, where the frac­tured ma­jor­ity can’t work up suf­fi­cient en­thu­si­asm for some­thing short of what ev­ery­body wants.

The best that can be said for it is that it’s bet­ter than Oba­macare. The re­place­ment will never please ev­ery­one. Noth­ing will. But the Se­nate bill, says Jack Howard, se­nior vice president of the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, “will re­peal the most egre­gious taxes and man­dates of Oba­macare,” and that’s not spinach. It would re­peal a tax on med­i­cal de­vices and elim­i­nate penal­ties on large em­ploy­ers that do not sup­ply cov­er­age to their em­ploy­ees.

It’s not just the Demo­cratic mi­nor­ity lined up against the Se­nate bill. The Club for Growth, a con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal-ac­tion group, has come out strongly against be­cause it’s not con­ser­va­tive enough. “The Club for Growth and the Amer­i­can peo­ple took Repub­li­cans at their word when they promised to re­peal ev­ery word — “root and branch” — of Oba­macare and re­place it with a pa­tient-cen­tered ap­proach to health care,” says David McIntosh, president of the club. “Only in Wash­ing­ton does ‘re­peal’ trans­late to ‘re­store.’ Be­cause that’s ex­actly what the Se­nate Repub­li­can health-care bill does. It re­stores Oba­macare.”

Only in Wash­ing­ton do lob­by­ing groups claim to speak for “the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” but when Congress ad­journs to go home for the Fourth of July the sen­a­tors will ac­tu­ally hear, if they’re lis­ten­ing, the Amer­i­can peo­ple. We sus­pect they’ll get an ear­ful.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, like the Congress, is di­vided over what comes next, es­pe­cially over the sub­si­dies the big in­sur­ance com­pa­nies get to re­deem costs of re­duc­ing out-of-pocket ex­penses of low-in­come Amer­i­cans. When Congress re­turns it should be armed with the wishes of “the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” and it can re­turn to the task of re­plac­ing and re­peal­ing Mr. Obama’s health fail­ing legacy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.