Editor’s note: GOP resistance blocks reform
The Republican resistance movement has apparently doomed the latest GOP attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, even before backers have had a chance to sell it.
Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said they can’t vote for the bill because it doesn’t completely dismantle Obamacare and put things back the way they were before that abomination became law.
Unless they can be persuaded the pre-Affordable Care Act market is gone for good, and that urgent fixes are needed to the health insurance system before it comes crashing down, Republicans will again fail to deliver on their promise to fix the mess Democrats and former President Barack Obama made of health care.
The latest iteration of the GOP plan was designed to appeal to the broadest coalition of Republican senators. It might not be perfect, but it does free Americans of the onerous mandates of Obamacare and slows the roll back in Medicaid, giving states more time to adjust.
Over time, the flexibility built into the legislation and the return to more market competition should slow the rise of insurance premiums.
Premium relief can’t wait. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced this month that rates for policies purchased through Healthcare.gov will go up 26.9 percent next year. That will price more people out of the health insurance market.
Republicans need 50 votes to pass their plan, and since they hold just 52 seats, they can only afford to lose two of their senators. With the four hard-liners already in the no category, passage seems unlikely.
If Republicans fail again to pass a health care bill, they can pretty much forget about getting meaningful tax reform done, or much else on their agenda.
The failure to deliver on the promises made during the 2016 campaign won’t sit well with their votes going into the 2018 campaign. Nor should it. What’s the point of having a majority Republican Congress if it can’t agree to do anything?
Democrats are whipping up panic about all of the damage the GOP plan will do. But they can just sit back and relax while these four no-compromise Republicans do their obstructionist work for them.