Opinion: Trumpcare Collapsed Because the Republican Party Cannot Govern

The end of Mitch McConnell, master strategist

  The end of Mitch McConnell, master strategist Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a reputation in Washington as a strategic genius. So when he introduced the new version of the Republican health-care bill on Thursday, some political observers expected to be dazzled by whatever he drew up. Instead they witnessed a very familiar play. Months ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was finally able to pass TrumpCare through Congress' lower chamber, after his first attempt failed, by inserting new provisions undercutting two key ObamaCare regulations. That brought conservative hardliners on board, while Ryan relied on raw tribal pressure to get the moderates in line.

  Trumpcare Collapsed Because the Republican Party Cannot Govern © Provided by Daily Intelligencer

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In 2009, David Frum, the former Bush administration speechwriter whose ideological apostasy was in its formative stages, met with conservative intellectuals to discuss the policy response to the great recession. Faced with evidence that only massive government action — a financial rescue coupled with fiscal stimulus — could have prevented a complete economic meltdown, one conservative made a startling confession: “Maybe it was a good thing we weren’t in power then — because our principles don’t allow us to respond to a crisis like this.”

Sasse's Iowa Visit Raises His Profile -- and Questions

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The financial crisis is hardly the only issue for which conservative principles turn out to be incompatible with the practical demands of governance. (Climate change leaps to mind.) The collapse of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is an especially vivid demonstration of the broader problem. The cohesion Republicans possessed in opposition disintegrated once they had power, because their ideology left them unable to pass legislation that was not cruel, horrific, and repugnant to their own constituents.

Donald Trump promised during the campaign that he would quickly and easily replace Obamacare with an alternative everybody would love. “You’re going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost,” he said, “It’s going to be so easy.”

Republicans Give Away the Game on Trumpcare

  Republicans Give Away the Game on Trumpcare Tom Price admits that insurance companies will go back to weeding out the sick.Republicans have spent eight years assuring the public that they, too, shared the goal of protecting people with preexisting conditions from price discrimination. Sunday, Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price tore down the tattered façade. Asked why insurers called the Republican health-care plan, which allows them to charge higher premiums to the sick than the healthy, unworkable, Price insisted they would just go back to the way things worked before Obamacare.

One might dismiss this kind of rhetoric as a typical Trumpian boast. But the candidate was merely translating into the vernacular the somewhat more carefully hedged promises his party had made for years into terms in which they were meant to be understood. Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” road map offered what it called “a step-by-step plan to give every American access to quality, affordable health care. … more choices and lower costs.” And why wouldn’t Republicans believe this? After all, Obamacare was, supposedly, a train wreck, a complete failure of design. It therefore followed that they could easily replace without significant harm to anybody.

In truth, it was never possible to reconcile public standards for a humane health-care system with conservative ideology. In a pure market system, access to medical care will be unaffordable for a huge share of the public. Giving them access to quality care means mobilizing government power to redistribute resources, either through direct tax and transfers or through regulations that raise costs for the healthy and lower them for the sick. Obamacare uses both methods, and both are utterly repugnant and unacceptable to movement conservatives. That commitment to abstract anti-government dogma, without any concern for the practical impact, is the quality that makes the Republican party unlike right-of-center governing parties in any other democracy. In no other country would a conservative party develop a plan for health care that every major industry stakeholder calls completely unworkable.

The 3 Republican Women Who Doomed a Senate Repeal of the Health Law

  The 3 Republican Women Who Doomed a Senate Repeal of the Health Law Senators Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins shared objections to Medicaid cuts, but also had concerns specific to their states.The Senate effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a process that began with 13 Republican men drafting a plan behind closed doors, collapsed Tuesday, as three Republicans said they would not support an ultimately futile attempt to simply roll back the current health care law without a replacement.

Every attempt to resolve the contradiction between public demands and conservative ideology has led the party to finesse it instead. That is why Republicans spent years promising their own health-care plan would come out very soon. It is why their first and best option was repeal and delay. And it is why they are returning to that option now.

The Trump administration might lash out at Obamacare by continuing to sabotage its functioning markets. They will find, however, that sabotaging the insurance exchanges will create millions of victims right away, as opposed to luxury of delaying the pain until after the elections. The power to destroy remains within the Republican party’s capacity. The power to translate its ideological principles into into practical government is utterly beyond its reach.

Opinion | Welcome to the United States of Anarchy .
Stuff happens, but nothing gets done. Actually, the majority in Congress has great difficulty even doing nothing.McConnell and his team scheduled a vote on repealing Obamacare for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday — a proposal that was, by all accounts, destined for failure. But when the appointed hour came, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), sponsor of the repeal measure, requested a quorum call — a Senate procedure to stall for time. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) rose. “Mr. President, I think there was some confusion —” he began.

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