Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump — those awkward, sometimes reluctant allies — face the biggest test yet of their unusual relationship as the House barrels toward a dramatic vote this week on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
The stakes could not be higher for either of them.
The success of the new president’s legislative agenda will hinge in large part on Thursday’s vote in the House on the American Health Care Act, already being dubbed “Ryancare” or “Trumpcare.” Failure would be a real blow to Trump, who has vowed over and over again to “repeal and replace horrible, disastrous Obamacare.”
The stakes could not be higher? It all depends on what you mean by “stakes.” If your personal and intellectual stake resides in obliterating and repealing Obamacare, and you control the Congress and the White House now — and ran on that claim — then you’d simply repeal Obamacare. If your “stake” is continued power for its own sake — which will surely run out as your core base abandons you — then I suppose you could say Ryan’s and Trump’s political future depends on this watered down socialist scheme working. But why are the careers of politicians any of our concern?
Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare. Some made noises about “repealing and replacing,” but nobody ever said we’d keep most of the mandates and coerce citizens into paying for-profit insurance companies rather than the government (same difference, at this point). Obamacare basically made more people dependent on Medicaid. Obamacare-Lite prevents the market from functioning just like Obamacare did, and gives fewer people the chance of being “rescued” by Medicaid. What good is this for anyone?
Adding insult to injury, House Republican leaders went through the motions of “tweaking” the bill into a “new and improved” Obamacare-Lite. It’s still Obamacare-Lite.
Most people do not understand, or choose to evade, the relationship between principle and practicality. The principle at stake here is getting rid of Obamacare. The wider principle is moving health care toward a free market, and away from government controls. The bill proposed by Paul Ryan and, sadly, endorsed by President Trump, keeps Obamacare intact and merely moves the decks around on the sinking government-controlled health care ship. When that ship sinks, and it will, the blame will now be on Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. What then? There’s nothing left but all-out socialism, i.e., Communism. Single-payer, command-and-control health care delivered and determined not by doctors and patients, but solely by officials in the nation’s capital. The Democrats stand readier than ever to impose it on us. And when back in power, they most certainly will.
Trump and Ryan would argue that Obamacare-Lite is practical. “You can’t rigidly stick to your principles when practicality is at stake.” But what’s practical about doing the opposite of what you intended? Half of Obamacare is no better than Obamacare, because Obamacare is poison. Obamacare is poison because socialism is poison. We don’t expect Democrats to understand that, nor even to care. But when Republicans evade this fact, then we’re worse off than we would be in a one-party country. At least in a one-party dictatorship, the right people would get the blame for what goes wrong. When Obamacare-Lite tanks and explodes, as it will, the non-existent “free market” will get the blame for socialism’s and fascism’s continued ills. Yet there’s nothing remotely free market about Obamacare-Lite. Nothing at all.
How practical is that?
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