With the CEO of Aetna’s warning that the long-expected Obamacare death spiral is snaking its way toward insolvency for the insurance companies we have to look ahead and wonder what is to come from the collapse.

The Republican Party has never worked so hard and gained so much from seeking the utter destruction of any particular legislation before that I can think of.  The Democrats have been losing ground at all levels of government since they passed it, the GOP Congress has voted to repeal it multiple times, and now the Trump Administration has mortally wounded it by ordering the IRS to stand-down on enforcing the mandate tax/fine/donation/whatever-John Roberts-needs-it-to-be.

Naturally, replacing Obamacare isn’t going to be easy and the GOP will surely be blamed for all of the social ills that repeal will bring (the press will see to that).  The Democrats in Congress have very little incentive to help the Republicans pass any sort of meaningful reform, nor could they all possibly agree on one anyway.  The pressure on Republican congressmen to protect guaranteed insurance for those with pre-existing conditions is enormous and will only get worse as all those poor fat, sick, and old people really start to panic.

What is the better alignment for the GOP to adopt on this policy issue?  Lawful Stupid or Chaotic Evil?

A Lawful Stupid approach would be to keep publicly crying about not being able to fully repeal Obamacare because they know they can’t pass a bill which ensures marketplace competition, allows the insurance companies to decide which procedures to cover, and doesn’t force them to cover the costs of people who wait until they’re sick to buy health insurance.  Many young people would find themselves dumped off of their parents’ policies and many sick people might suddenly find themselves uninsurable.  The GOP, as it so often does, would talk a good game about limited government while still voting to maintain Big Government.  They know how that story goes, but they’re not called “cuckservatives” for nothing.  They would be motivated to prove their worthiness as the majority party of the federal government by passing anything, just to do something.

On the other hand, a Chaotic Evil mindset would adopt the mantra of “Never let a crisis go to waste”.  The Grand Evil Party could throw out some proposals, let the Democrats rip them to shreds, and then….do nothing for about a year.  Let the death spiral run its course along with all of the madness that would surely ensue.  The only options would be for the Democrats to either compromise or join in on an insurance company bailout.  The former is doable.  The latter is unacceptable to voters and both parties know it.

Which approach would you favor from the party you tend to support?  Do you expect them to work constructively to pass laws even if it means a break from ideological purity or is it better for them to stick with the principles they know to be right and allow something to crash and burn even if people get hurt in the process?  This is in fact the greatest question for an age of bitterly divided government ruling over a people who just want a competent and effective one.

I favor the “evil” one, if you were wondering. Not because I’m evil, but because I think government is and it’s only logical that the more evil party should win.  The Star Wars prequels taught me that.

9 comments

  1. I’m not sure it’s an either-or. It is clear the GOP has to repeal Obamacare–it was a key part of their electoral platform, and with control of both houses and the WH, there is no excuse. They will pay a steep political price if they don’t follow through. Trump has also said very clearly his position is to repeal and replace quickly, and repudiated the idea that he could sit back and let the death spiral happen and possibly have a politically-easier go at it later after Obamacare crashed and burned.

    So assuming Republicans have to move on it relatively quickly, I am sure there will be plenty of things I like about their replacement, and other things I may disagree with but are required to politically get this through. Remember, legislating is like sausage-making and all, and purity isn’t really possible. But what is possible is for this to be handled through normal lawmaking processes, rather than a backroom-made, passed-in-the-middle-of-the-night deal. I will absolutely hold the GOP’s feet to the fire if they pull that top-down nonsense the D’s did (though use of reconciliation is only fair), but I am not really going to worry too much if the replacement isn’t a 100% pure grade-A Conservative­® product so long as it fulfills the basic promise the GOP has been making since 2012 or earlier.

  2. I just don’t know if the sort of pragmatism you’re calling for is possible in the current political climate.

  3. Republicans have fucked themselves with this political stance and they know it. There’s 11 million people now covered under AMA and the sob stories are going to come piling in if it’s repealed. They’re also proper fucked if they don’t repeal it, since they used the “never let a good crisis go to waste” mantra already to get elected. The drain the swamp crowd voted to watch the world burn, and if you aren’t holding a match when they check on your progress, you’re the problem.

    The third option you don’t mention is that as lifetime leeches of the public teat, they use their political experience to sit on the fence and let trump take the spears for this. There’s nothing to lose for them: if it works, they’ll reap the success by proxy because of the ticket trump ran on, and if this blows up in trump’s face they can impeach him for the boot licker they prefer in pence.

  4. I think the “sob stories” example is why the Chaotic Evil approach is the way to go. Nobody is going to care about the 11 million who are going to lose their insurance if the ACA is repealed with its provisions for pre-existing conditions when 50 million people are now uninsured because they can’t afford it at all.

    Let it get to crisis stage, and then propose a fix and dare the Democrats to stand in the way.

  5. the Fix the dem wil propose is a single payer plan, and then out comes the stories the press with comparisons to Europe, with out the bad parts….

  6. Let the Democrats propose their single payer. The debate won’t survive the reveal of the costs and new taxes.

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