Saturday, March 11, 2017

Replacing Obamacare with ... Obamacare

Trump's Voters Have Been Betrayed on Healthcare, Bigly | Foundation for Economic Education - Jeffrey Tucker:

March 11, 2017 - "It’s now clear where this 'repeal and replace' thing is headed. A small cadre of the GOP House leadership hammered out a few tweaks of Obamacare in secret. All the essentials of Obamacare were left in place: the mandates, the regulations, the strictures, the entitlement expansions, the preset packages, and many taxes....

""A few smart, principled people in the party quickly objected, with Rand Paul in the Senate and Justin Amash in the House leading the charge. They know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix a healthcare system that has been getting structurally less functional for many decades, burdened down ever more with a thicket of control, subsidies, pressure-group payouts, and bureaucratic layers of rules.

"They were there as Obamacare became the final disgrace of the welfare state, so bad that the former president himself didn’t even mention it, much less brag about it, in his farewell address. The election was an opportunity, finally.

"During the election’s final weeks, Trump opposed everything about Obamacare and brought out his rhetorical blowtorch against it in the final weeks, just as premiums rose astronomically. Clinton, in contrast, promised only tweaks to make the existing system work better.

"Voters revolted, hoping for some relief. Exit polls from the 2016 presidential election told the story. Trump had temporarily dropped even his obsessions with nationalism, protectionism, and strongman symbolism for just a few days to say something sensible: repeal and replace this monstrosity. The outrage against the prevailing system launched him into the presidency.

"Now it is mid-March and the great moment has arrived. As it turns out, nearly everything is left just as it was. It’s not as if Trump is doing his best to support the best-possible option.... Indeed, he has used the full weight of the presidency, all the power of his influence, and every bit of political clout he has to support the worst-available plan for dealing with the utter and complete failure of the status quo.

"Now the Congressional critics have a problem. The more they criticize the proposed reform, the less influence they will have over the process going forward. Or they can take a gamble that Trump might ultimately improve the bill under their influence, but they have to muzzle their criticisms themselves in order to be in the game at all.

"And here we have the 'art of the deal' in action. It is about getting something, anything, shoved through, with the right people given what they need to take credit or cast blame, depending on their appointed role in the political drama. The deal is what matters, not the actual results. I’m the last person to be a pessimist, but it looks to me like the end result will be: the codification of Obamacare in principle and practice."

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