The House GOP has pulled the widely-hated Affordable Health Care Act rather than pursue it any further. Democrats are jubilant and conservatives just shake their heads. I think that this spectacle is a tactical defeat for Trump and its going to be a blow to his legislative momentum.
My view is that his whole debacle came about as an alliance between President Trump and
House Majority Leader Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to carry out a Repeal and Replace scheme (which they both wanted) rather than just Repeal (which Republican voters wanted). Ryan promised a bill–any bill–and Trump agreed to sign whatever Ryan could put on his desk. I’d say that Trump’s biggest mistake was threatening the conservative GOP congressmen to pressure them to pass something. That was bound to fail and make him look powerless in the process. They’re more scared of the conservative Republican base, not Trump, apparently.
Ryan failed and is the biggest loser in this whole affair. It is now plain for everyone to see that he has neither the confidence of his own party in Congress or Trump’s. He’s on his way out the door, mark my words.
Does this demonstrate that Trump isn’t really as great a deal-maker as he says? I don’t think so. The GOP House wasn’t going to give him the bill he wanted, so it made sense to walk away from the table. Eventually, circumstances will be more favorable.
What do I mean? Go back to February and read one of my previous posts on this subject.
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.
Behold! We have seen the failure of the Lawful Stupid GOP approach, haven’t we? So what’s Trump going to do now? The Chaotic Evil one.
You see, Obamacare is still in the death spiral. With Trump’s previous Executive Order that all but nullifies the individual mandate by forcing the IRS to grant waivers for anyone who doesn’t want to pay for health insurance or the tax for not having insurance, the death spiral will be speedier.
If you think Obamacare is here to stay, you’re a fool. Without the individual mandate working and ensuring that everyone is paying in to the system, it can’t stand.
Democrats may be cheering today, but Obamacare is very much a dead law walking and the GOP will still hold the White House and Congress when it finally reaches a crisis point. Both Democrats and conservatives will be much more willing to compromise with Trump when that occurs. The pressure will be enormous.
So yes, today was a loss for Trump, but he’s making only a temporary retreat. When this issue re-emerges in a year or so because the insurance companies are demanding a bailout, Trump will have a stronger hand and will be the wiser for this experience. Beware.