Obamacare

Republicans Should Reject 'Bipartisan' Solution for Obamacare

There was nothing bipartisan about the way the law was passed.

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The latest iteration of Obamacare repeal has likely failed. Senate Republicans were unable to pass a watered-down repeal effort that offered states some meager level of federalism in the form of block grants. Now, we're again going to hear a lot of noise about the need to embrace a "bipartisan" approach to fix health care.

"Since nearly every promise we made with Obamacare has failed, you now have a responsibility to save it": To many, this might seem like a shamelessly counterintuitive thing to say, but it's very popular among Democrats. The problem is that any effort that further entrenches a wholly partisan law is not, in any genuine way, "bipartisan." And Republicans have zero reason to play along.

For the first time in American history, the party in power—complete power, mind you—is being asked to bail out the minority's signature failed reform. Not just any reform: Democrats unilaterally shoved through the system a wide-ranging national restructuring of a vital part of the economy. It was an effort that blew up dozens of governing norms and was built on a giant lie, a manipulated Congressional Budget Office score and a process that, outside a few Kabuki theater hearings and technical amendments, ignored half the country while coercing every citizen's participation. In fact, many of the people being asked to bail out Obamacare warned that Obamacare would need bailing out.

So what do conservatives gain in these "bipartisan" efforts—I mean, other than the honor of saving Obamacare? Democrats have shown zero inclination to compromise on any substantive changes other than perhaps adding more spending or regulatory controls on consumer choice. Liberals have trillions of ideas on how to expand the welfare state, and not a single one on how to save people from it.

What makes this pretend "bipartisanship" even more off-putting is that most Republicans, including the president, can, either fully or in large part, thank the national movement that coalesced around opposition to the Affordable Care Act in 2010 for their careers and power. It wasn't merely a reaction to the bill—which millions rightly saw as the first step in nationalizing care—but the hyper-partisanship and leftward lurch of the party ramming it through.

A thousand or so seats later, Republicans have now reverted to form, trembling in the wake of some poor polling numbers and Jimmy Kimmel's sock puppetry. What did they expect was going to happen? Where are the voices offering compelling and passionate arguments for repeal? Where is the concerted effort from the GOP to speak for the tens of millions who suffer under Obamacare's spiking premiums and decreasing choices? It all seemed to dissipate when repeal became a possible reality.

Now, as then, Democrats were open to bipartisanship as long as others didn't bring any of their ideas along. The only compromise struck during negotiations over the Affordable Care Act was between needed moderate Democrats and leftist Democrats. Over the past eight years, those moderates have been purged from the party, and the folks most responsible for this disaster are still framing the contours of the debate.

If Democrats are unwilling to negotiate on truly bipartisan grounds, Republicans should hold tight. Donald Trump, who promised throughout his campaign to overturn Obamacare, could immediately put a deadline on the unconstitutional subsidy payments that the Obama administration concocted to keep the bill from imploding. Yes, liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are "sabotaging" the law, but there is no moral, policy or political reason for the GOP to continue the payoffs. No matter how many welfare dollars Congress ends up pouring into fabricated markets or how much price-fixing they engage in, the "exchanges" are unsustainable. Why would conservatives want to take ownership of those failures?

As the Senate stands now, it's improbable that Republicans will ever be able to cobble together a bill that will placate both the Susan Collins-John McCain wing and the Mike Lee-Rand Paul wing. In fact, I doubt Collins would vote for a single-payer bill if too many Republicans supported it. You may be rightly skeptical that repeal will ever pass. Yet it is not out of the question that help is on the way. Perhaps the GOP's positioning on health care reform will lead to midterm disaster. But we've heard this one before—sometimes right before a GOP wave election. Fact is, the 2018 Senate map is still not favorable to Dems.

Liberals like to argue that allowing Obamacare to fail would bring a single-payer closer to reality. Well, it is just as likely that prolonging Obamacare's lifespan would help single-payer, as the next Democratic administration will surely continue to expand the reach of the law. (Unlike the GOP, Democrats don't shy away from incrementalism.) If Republicans truly believe Obamacare has harmed America, there is no upside in fake bipartisanship. Not for the GOP. And not for the American people.

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  1. What about the fact that voters always blame the party in power for things that go wrong (including the weather)? This article is a call to do what Trump has said he wants to do: let the law fail, and blame Democrats. All existing evidence suggests the “blame Democrats” part isn’t going to work.

    1. Trump did say that *once* but he also said he wanted a replacement.

      Gop could have kept their hands clean, but the average voter who can’t find DC on a map will only remember that the GOP was voting on healthcare bills just before the implosion.

      1. For the GOP to keep their “hands clean”, they would have needed to *not* sue, multiple times, over and over again, to dismantle it piecemeal.

        Between the Medicare expansion, birth control, subsidies, advertisements, the various boarded they never let get staffed and so-on, we’re so far past “hands clean” it isn’t funny. Trying to stand back and let it collapse now, saying “see, it collapsed! It’s so bad!” Will only fool folks that haven’t been paying attention.

        Which, admittedly, is most folks.

        1. So in your opinion, community rating and guaranteed issue can work it’s just been the fault of Republicans that it’s failed every single last time it’s ever been tried, even in the deepest of deep blue states.

          Goodness! It’s almost like this is an admission that the only theoretical way it could work is on the back of either massive taxes, probably double what they are now, or by deficit spending which will devalue every American’s savings and can’t be sustained!

          I’m sure every American won’t mind suddenly actually paying taxes that eat up half their earnings whereas before they would get a pretend-rebate from the government. That’ll definitely end well for Democrats!

          1. There are plenty of other places on the internet to lick Republican dickhole, you know.

            1. Facts hurt when you live in a fantasy land.

              1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

                This is what I do… http://www.netcash10.com

            2. Tony|9.29.17 @ 12:33PM|#
              “There are plenty of other places on the internet to lick Republican dickhole, you know.”

              This is the lefty asshole who accuses others of not addressing the point.

              1. Since he’s a little girly man I think he just likes getting access to real equipment. Kind of one of those ‘Oh! So that’s what it’s actually supposed to look like!’

                The GOP is pretty much screwed though. 8 years and how many times did they ‘pass’ a repeal? Most people I know just want Obamacare gone. They know they were better off before the incompetent lack-wits in Washington started screwing around with health insurance.

              2. No one ever accused him of either being consistent or having a brain.

            3. You should go find somewhere else to lick totalitarian asshole, asshole.

          2. To do know that it’s possible to read comments without assuming opinions not stated, right?

            My point was very simple: The GOP for it’s hands messy with this from the get-go. Whatever happens with the ACA, folks can fairly say that the GOP had been deliberately trying to make it fail since it’s inception.

            And that is entirely aside from whether it would have failed on its own regardless of Republican meddling.


            1. Between the Medicare expansion, birth control, subsidies, advertisements, the various boarded they never let get staffed and so-on, we’re so far past “hands clean” it isn’t funny. Trying to stand back and let it collapse now, saying “see, it collapsed! It’s so bad!” Will only fool folks that haven’t been paying attention.

              You could be a bit more clear, since nothing the GOP has done to the ACA has ‘made it fail’ when the actual wording of the ACA itself guarantee’s that it will fail.

              You can cherry pick some things that Republicans have tried to do that may change the rate of failure, but at face value the ACA was always going to fail by design. Parts of it were even illegal by design.

              Perhaps not intentional design, perhaps Democrats were sincerely of the opinion that a flawed system known to fail every time it has been tried would work this time for ‘reasons’, but your comment clearly states that Republican obstructionism is at least one cause of the ACA’s failure.

              Odd you ignore the primary reasons for it’s failure, even if I take it as a given that ‘Republican Obstructionism’ is a cause of that failure at all. The only reasons I can think of for that are either you believe it would have worked otherwise, or you’re trying to shift the blame, but I’m open to the idea that there are other reasons you might obscure the truth.


              1. And that is entirely aside from whether it would have failed on its own regardless of Republican meddling.

                Ah, so you didn’t really have a point you just wanted to social signal that you’re anti-Republican. That’s fair enough I guess, but it seems like there are lot more valid reasons than what you cite.

        2. What pieces, exactly, have been dismantled by the courts? Unless you mean Hobby Lobby? Because THAT was a HUGE impact on the law…right…

      2. Notably Trump was one of the few, if not the only, Republican saying ‘Repeal and Replace’. I guess it’s possible that most people just heard the first word, but I suspect a lot of people don’t have a problem with nationalized healthcare per say, but rather they have a problem with the fact that the costs of said program haven’t been sufficiently hidden from them.

        People want something for nothing, and their chicks for free.

        1. I think you underestimate the degree to which Republicans have been championing a repeal and replace platform – at least on the stump. Here’s an article from 2014 detailing the Republican effort to repeal it. While the list is just of the various votes and legal maneuvers they’ve used to chip away, the article mentions campaign pledges of “repeal and replace.”

          Even if Republicans, talking in private, would like to just repeal Obamacare and not worry about replacing it, based on the way they generally talk one could be forgiven for thinking they actually do want to replace it, or even *gasp* have an idea to offer.

  2. “Since nearly every promise we made with Obamacare has failed, you now have a responsibility to save it”: To many, this might seem like a shamelessly counterintuitive thing to say, but it’s very popular among Democrats.

    “We fucked shit up, and lost an assload of seats doing it, and now that you haven’t been able to overwrite our fuckup with a fresh fuckup of your doing, you have to get the stink of our shit onto you, and get us back some of those seats while doing it.”

    1. You joke, but I suspect this is exactly what Tom Perez and the rest of the DNC have planned for their PR rollout.

    2. Nailed it in one.

  3. “Bipartisan” any measure or movement stupid or cynical enough to attract bottom feeders from both parties.

  4. “Bipartisanship” is when two muggers wait until they’ve run off with your wallet before fighting over its contents.

    1. COLLEGE PARK, Ga. ? A suspect in an armed robbery of a McDonald’s was found dead behind the restaurant’s dumpster, minutes after the holdup.

      News outlets report two masked men entered a McDonald’s in Clayton County on Wednesday night. Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said in a statement that one man confiscated cellphones from employees and customers and then took money out of the cash register, as the other man brandished a weapon.

      Marbury says gunshots rang out soon after the men exited the restaurant.

      Officers used surveillance video to identify the deceased man as one of the robbers. Police recovered the mask, multiple cellphones and an undisclosed amount of cash on or near the body.

      Police say the other masked man hasn’t been found. Police do not know who shot the man.

      1. My favorite crime story.

  5. which millions rightly saw as the first step in nationalizing care

    No, the first step in nationalizing care happened a long time ago.

    1. Good catch.

  6. ‘Bad ideas’ seem to work better than ‘no ideas’

    1. They have more appeal, anyway.

      1. People want to know a likely outcome. That’s not unique to politics – and esp important when the thing in question can cost much of your income, can drive you into bankruptcy, and can be seen as life/death.

        And the reality is that our current system (which becomes the ‘default’ for ‘no ideas’) doesn’t deliver on that.

        1. No doubt. This is why people prefer the predictability of bad government management over free markets. I feel like there have even been articles here on studies that have shown exactly that.

    2. SOMETHING must be done.

      THIS is something.

      Therefore, THIS must be done.

      Government!

  7. ITS COLLAPSIN’ BOYS!

    IT IS, AIN’T IT?

    1. Even Democrats are admitting the law needs changing, even if they don’t want to repeal it. If it was so awesome as you always claim, they’d leave it alone entirely.

  8. Democrats unilaterally shoved through the system a wide-ranging national restructuring of a vital part of the economy. It was an effort that blew up dozens of governing norms and was built on a giant lie, a manipulated Congressional Budget Office score and a process that, outside a few Kabuki theater hearings and technical amendments, ignored half the country while coercing every citizen’s participation.

    So wait, is he saying this is a bad way to do things or the way Republicans should do things?

    1. Both. You can’t-do that and then expect the other side to treat you any better when they go to undo the cluster fuck you created.

      Of course, if the Democrats have good ideas, they should be incorporated and their support welcomed. But the Republicans are under no obligation to include bad Democratic ideas in the name of compromise or make any sacrifice or special effort to obtain Democratic support. That is Hysranni’s point and for once it is a good one.

    2. It’s bad when Democrats do it but good when the GOP does.

      You see, it is like deficits. The new trump tax plan will add $2.2 trillion to the debt over 10 years (Center for a Responsible Budget data). Those are good deficits/debt. When Democrats take office all deficits are their fault.

      1. The new trump tax plan will add $2.2 trillion to the debt over 10 years

        Well, this is damning with faint praise, but that’s a lot better than the $9.3 trillion that occurred in eight years under Obama.

      2. Compared to the $10 billion in 8 years from Obama, this is actually progres.

    3. So wait, is he saying this is a bad way to do things or the way Republicans should do things?

      He does pretty much say that the Republicans should behave this same way, but I think John is right that what he’s getting at is that the Democrats passed the ACA with such an openly hostile “suck it minority Party, what can you losers do about it?” attitude that Republicans in the current Congress shouldn’t feel any responsibility to please Democrats in coming up with counter-legislation.

      I think this is why he goes to such length to point out the unprecedented hubris with which the Democrats are demanding the Republicans faithfully execute this same law that the Democrats used as a big middle finger to the Republicans seven years ago.

      One would hope that the Republicans could be the bigger people and just try to fix the problems without being vengeance-minded, but that’s not what politics is about. And in this case, Harsanyi seems to be arguing that if they are ever justified ignoring the Democrats, now would be the time.

      1. It should be telling that the biggest critiques of the ACA from within the Democrat party are that it isn’t single payer and that it doesn’t go far enough. That sounds an awful lot like ‘bipartisanship’ in this particular case simply isn’t possible, because it amounts to doubling down on the previously failed policies that we already know don’t work.

        At least that’s what it sounds like to me.

        I’ve been saying it for a long time, but Democrats pretend that the ACA is immaculately written and any talk of ‘reforming it’ is anathema to them. Probably because it would reveal that it really is a failure, even while that should be obvious since it has done the literal opposite of all the things we were told it would solve.

        How anyone could look at premium prices now and say the ACA did anything but make the problems worse is beyond me. It’s almost like actual results are completely secondary to scoring political points, but that would be crazy.

        1. According to Democrats, the ACA is the best thing ever to happen to health care in the United States and it’s the fault of the GOP that it’s failing miserably.

  9. So what do conservatives gain in these “bipartisan” efforts?I mean, other than the honor of saving Obamacare?

    Being primaried by people who are actually conservative? Or losing to dems because their base sees no reason to show up and vote for them since they are impotent?

    liberals will continue to claim that conservatives are “sabotaging” the law

    The irony that implementing the law as written is what is “sabotaging” the law is lost on leftists.

    Why would conservatives want to take ownership of those failures?

    Team Stupid’s gotta stupid.

  10. Not sure I entirely agree with Harsanyi here.

    I agree that Republicans aren’t under any special obligation to be bipartisan in fixing the ObamaCare mess. However, what the Democrats might regard as a reasonable compromise might not be such a bad deal for us. I heard an interview with Chris Murphy on NPR the other day on this very subject. He was saying that his idea of a “bipartisan compromise” with regards to “fixing ObamaCare” would be for the Republicans to get their wish of having more lower-cost health insurance options in the exchanges, like, you know, actual catastrophic insurance and not comprehensive insurance, while Democrats would get their wish of “keeping Trump’s hands off of trying to sabotage the law” (his words) – which sounds to me like reclaiming congressional power and taking it away from the executive. Now, Chris Murphy is a politician, probably lying through his teeth, etc., etc., but, in all honesty, if this is what the compromise looked like, I can’t say I would be all that disappointed.

    1. And how would you get, “actual catastrophic insurance and not comprehensive insurance” on the so-called exchanges? ACA requires them to be comprehensive. Allowing them would basically mean repeal/replace. If Murphy thinks that’s doable with the left, he’s lost it.

      1. it doesn’t have to be up to “The Left”; Murphy and other safe Dems can cross over for the good of saving their party from the nutjob wing.

        1. I mean what are they going to do – vote Republican? Ha ha.

      2. Clearly for this compromise to go through, the minimum benefits provision of ACA would have to be amended. Probably not dropped altogether, like you or I would like to see, but at least altered in a more favorable direction.

        And the nature of compromise is that presumably it would make both extremes unhappy. I wouldn’t expect Bernie Sanders to vote for it. But Joe Manchin might.

        But you are right, it wouldn’t be all that different from the Republican version of “repeal and replace” which really wasn’t a repeal.

  11. the prohibition on denying coverage to pre-existing conditions is not going away, so you can either make PPACA *more* market-friendly and cost-effective, or you can say hello to Americare (nationalized healthcare’s future name you heard it here first)

    1. Pre-existing coverage is one of the things that absolutely can not be provided in an insurance system. What you want isn’t insurance, it’s an expensive as hell installment plan.

      1. that does not change the political reality of the situation.

        you can make it more manageable, the way the AHCA wanted to do and the way Medicare does now, with enrollment periods and late enrollment surcharges to cover the costs of more expensive enrollees, but that prohibition is not going anywhere.

        1. Yes, adding cherry flavoring to cyanide absolutely changes the end result of ingesting said cyanide. I say this truthfully, this is what the American people (including the Democrat and Republican parties) actually believe.

  12. Why should Republicans look for a bipartisan solution? That’s easy. Because they’ve failed at finding a partisan solution. So if they want to do anything (and they do), it’s basically their only option.

  13. You can rest assured that a future Democratic government will not want to touch healthcare with someone else’s dick, unless they absolutely have to (as Republicans do now given their horseshit promises to their cousinfucking voters).

    “Liberals like to argue that allowing Obamacare to fail would bring a single-payer closer to reality.”

    Maybe the bearded Leninist Bernie millennial spawn, but they’re no threat as they think losing elections while feeling virtuous is better than actually accomplishing things.

      1. So we’re saying they’re Libertarians? ^_-

        1. Ha! Good one.

        1. Well, you’re a fake poster, so it fits.


  14. Now, we’re again going to hear a lot of noise about the need to embrace a “bipartisan” approach to fix health care.

    I’m told Democrats already fixed everything with the ACA, so why would they embrace any plan to do anything? Mission accomplished, right? Anything less would be a tacit admission that they fucked up. I won’t hold my breath on that.

    1. You are told that, by whom? Alex Jones?

      I won’t hold my breath on that. You cannot. With the cock you are holding in your mouth as you say that

      1. So Alex Jones believes that the Democrats already fixed everything with the ACA? Huh, weird. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never watched the guy even ironically.

        No, I hear this from the Democrat Party and furthermore I infer it from their actions and lack of actions.

  15. Federalist turd bag is confused. Obamacare was passed purely by Democrats, that is not under dispute.

    The process was bipartisan, till Mitch decided that the black guy was not to get any credit. Ever.

    A nearly year-long bipartisan process, which involved Dodd holding committee hearings, Coburn taking the lead for the Republicans, and 130+ Republican amendments in the passed bill.

    And yes, lengthy periods of public input and the availability of the bill to see before passing.

    So when the federalist turd bag says “There was nothing bipartisan about the way the law was passed.” he is well, full of shit.

    Republicans Should Reject ‘Bipartisan’ Solution for Obamacare

    I think that is prudent.

    1. Which Republicans voted for the plan, again? My list must be wrong.

    2. Paint Thinner|9.29.17 @ 12:50PM|#
      “…Obamacare was passed purely by Democrats, that is not under dispute.
      The process was bipartisan, ”

      Lefty imbeciles have a habit of repeating lies in the hopes that others are as stupid as they are and will somehow come to see those lies as ‘true’.
      Here we have a clear example.

    3. Put down the crack pie and step away from the keyboard before you hurt yourself.

  16. Let it burn.

    Then nuke the ashes from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

    R’s should under no circumstances try to patch this monstrosity into a ambulatory Frankenstein’s monster. They have no ownership of the shambles, it was passed 100% without their input. Without their input it will die, and it will 100% be on the D’s (except in the head of D’s, where somehow it will be 100% R’s fault).

    Just…let…it…die.

    Once it’s underground, then let them talk with D’s about scrapping it and starting fresh new with something bipartisan on the outset.

    After all “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. ” H.L. Mencken


    1. Without their input it will die, and it will 100% be on the D’s (except in the head of D’s, where somehow it will be 100% R’s fault).

      EscherEnigma is already trying to make that case at the top of the thread.

  17. I don’t get it. The Republicans could’ve repealed it, & didn’t. So why will the failure of the ACA, & problems attendant to that failure, not be blamed on them as well?

    1. They actually do not have the votes to repeal it, which is one of the many problems.

      In my opinion, the biggest obstacles to success are Trump and Mitch McConnell. I suppose I should probably throw Paul Ryan under that bus too, while we’re at it, but I suspect he’s less of a problem than the other two. Not to mention that the Republican party has it’s own Progressives that are A-Ok with government control of Healthcare.

      But, since that view is frustrating it’s much more fun to kick Republicans in the ribs. I was on board with the kicking ever since I first heard ‘repeal and replace’, it was the Congressional equivalent of ‘hold my beer’.

  18. These jackasses have the White House, the senate, and congress so it they are truly the party of limited government they should be able to repeal this communist abomination

  19. Republicans are hopeless. They surrendered on the two main ideas. First, that everyone has to have coverage and second that the alternative was “single payer”. Single payer is bullshit, what it is, and what it should be called, is government healthcare, or better yet, “Veterans Care for Everyone”.

    Veterans are the closest thing that there is in the US to royalty, but not an ordinary royalty but one with an near holy aura. No one can dare insult a veteran, or even speak to a veteran with anything other than complete awe in their voice. If the government is willing to let the group that they praise above all others die on waiting lists, then what do you think they would do to the stupid hoi poloi? After all, how much power do people have over soon-to-be death dealing bureaucrats when they can’t withhold the taxes that pay for the privilege of being denied care?

  20. If the passage of Obamacare was bi-partisan then rape must also be bi-partisan. Although in the former case there is an argument that “she was asking for it”. The Republicans had already passed Medicare part D, the first expansion of federal intrusion into health care in years.

    America is now a country that isn’t ruled by either Republicans or Democrats, but by the media and “Deep State” bureaucrats. After nearly a century, Woodrow Wilson’s dream of an administrative state has finally been realized.

    1. How many Republicans voted for Obamacare, again?

  21. Well this article is obviously coming from a place of privilege. How much healthcare does one person really need?

  22. Republicans and Americans in general are now buying into all the basic premises behind ObamaCare; insurance for preexisting conditions – which isn’t really insurance anymore – measuring the success of the healthcare system by the number insured, etc. The Stupid Party never built the case for free market healthcare. That battle is lost by default. Trump supports single payer. That is now the only possible outcome.

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