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Why Republicans Didn't Repeal and Replace Obamacare

The entire party is at fault.

KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/NewscomKEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/NewscomThe GOP's intra-party war continues, with Donald Trump blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the failure of the Obamacare repeal effort.

On Twitter, Trump wrote, "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"

It's a fair question. Part of the answer is that elected Republicans failed for years to seriously engage with the question of how to replace the health care law they campaigned so adamantly against. But it's also an exercise in calculated blame shifting, one that demonstrates how little the president understands about the policy process. In other words, it's the entire party's fault.

Trump's tweet was a response to McConnell's recent statement suggesting that the president may not be realistic about what Congress can do. "Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before," McConnell said this week. "And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."

Trump's inexperience is a factor here. But the outsider president's expectations were set in large part by seven years of Republican promises to repeal and replace the health care law. And throughout that time, Republicans were never really serious about developing a replacement plan that could pass.

Back in 2013, when Obamacare's exchanges went online, and immediately crashed, it was clear that many Republicans were simply not interested in productive health policy improvements. Instead, they viewed the struggles of the health care law strictly as a political cudgel to wield against political opponents.

To be clear: I am not saying that there were literally zero Republican health care policy proposals. There were any number of white papers and policy frameworks and even a fully written piece of legislation or two. But there was very little effort to sell these plans to either the broader public or to Republican lawmakers, and to create the political conditions under which they were likely to both pass and be successful. What Republicans lacked was a shared vision—a theory of the case and how best to address it.

These efforts take significant time and energy. Democrats and their allies on the left spent nearly two decades working through ideas and building broad consensus after the failure of President Bill Clinton's health care plan in the early 1990s. Republicans didn't mount a similar effort. This was a widespread institutional failure driven by a combination of policy disinterest and political cynicism.

Indeed, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor basically admitted as much in a recent interview with Washingtonian, in which he says that Republicans knowingly overpromised on what was possible in terms of rolling back President Obama's legislative achievements.

This is where Trump's experience comes into play. Trump, an outsider with no history with the Republican politics, was not in on the plot. He did not know that it was, essentially, a ruse.

Thus, when it came time to act, Republicans did not have a shared vision and a plan to advance it. Under a more conventional Republican president, the GOP-controlled Congress might have managed to pass something—quite possibly a very flawed something—anyway. The president typically plays a key role in both unifying his own party and in selling the bill to the public. Obama, for example, helped smooth over lingering differences amongst Democrats, and made it a priority to sell his bill to the public, in great length and detail.

But Trump, a neophyte who has demonstrated no in-depth understanding of health care policy or the political dynamics that surround, and who did not bother to educate himself on those issues, could not and did not play this role. This is especially critical when it comes to health care, where the policy is knotty and interconnected, and the politics are deeply intertwined with the complexities of the policy choices.

When Trump and his aides did weigh in, they set public expectations for broad comprehensive coverage that no Republican bill was ever going to match. He also promised in January that the administration had its own plan nearly finished, which clearly was not true.

It didn't help that Trump's victory caught congressional Republicans by surprise. "I didn't expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn't, so we didn't expect to be in this situation," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) said last month when asked about his party's difficulty passing health care legislation.

With Congress anxious and unprepared, and the president unable to manage the process, there was no one left to design a plan that could unite the party, and no one left to sell the public on the merits of a different system. It remains remarkable how little effort nationally elected Republicans spent making the case for the specific virtues of their legislative ideas. It gave the impression—which in some cases was true—that Republicans themselves did not much like their plans.

In turn, Obamacare became more popular. The Republican legislation was the least popular major bill in decades.

The failure, then, was party wide. Republicans in Congress weren't prepared to repeal and replace Obamacare, and may never have intended to. Trump managed to win the GOP nomination and then the presidency without figuring this out. And as president, he was particularly ill-suited to helping Republicans work through their own divisions and hang-ups. If anything, it's amazing that Republicans came as close to passing something as they did. Expecting anything from a political party this at war with itself is probably excessive.

And now Trump is merely continuing the cycle of dysfunction, using the failure of the GOP health care effort to stoke tensions within his own party that are politically convenient for him, but unlikely to advance any policy goals. If you want to understand the GOP failure to advance a policy agenda, if you want to know about Obamacare repeal and "why not done," Trump's own tweet is as good a place as any to start.

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  • Tom Bombadil||

    "Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before,"

    McConnell really stuck his foot in it this time. Unlike the new President, McConnell has been in this line of work for a very (too long) time and is still demonstrating himself a corrupt incompetent. At least the President has an excuse of sorts.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Repealing ObamaCare is all Congress and everyone knows it.

    Trump is a Washington political scene outsider and he demolished the RINO candidates like Jeb Bush and Cruz, so he must be made to fail and hopefully not be re-elected.

    Unfortunately for Congress Trump would be re-elected in spite of Congress and people will have lots of incumbent Congressmen to vote against in primaries. Trump was elected partly to fight establishment and Congress is doing exactly what has pissed people off.

  • Calidissident||

    What exactly is a RINO if not Trump? I've always been amused at how broadly and contradictory that term gets used.

    Congress displayed a ton of incompetence, but Trump did absolutely nothing to help get a bill passed. He clearly had no idea what he was doing, and he looked like a hypocritical idiot when he holds a celebration for the House passing a bill and then later declares it a "mean bill."

  • Tony||

    Yeah weird. A Bush is a Republican in name only, but Trump, only recently joining the party, is the real deal.

    I guess it turns out that after cycles of purity tests and purges, they didn't really care about tax policy, health policy, or even really abortion. They just wanted a guy who made them think it was cool to be vulgar shitweasels in public.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Ah, Tony. You love the Booshes, don't you?

    W. Bush expanded the federal government.

    Actions speak louder than words and W. Bush hurt the USA and Trump is trying to dismantle the mess Bill Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama have created in the last 25 years.

  • Calidissident||

    Lol. I share your opinion of Bush but I can't help but laugh at how blindly and naively optimistic you are about Trump.

  • Tony||

    Republicans always expand the federal government. You should have realized by now that their rhetoric is 100% horseshit.

    Trump is going to go down as the worst president in history, if not the last. I'd put real money on that.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Obama already has that title covered for the rest of eternity.

  • Tony||

    And why is that? Specifically. Enlighten us.

  • livelikearefugee||

    Obama gave us Trump.

  • Tony||

    You mean a bunch of racist assholes gave us Trump.

  • ||

    Trump is going to go down as the worst president in history, if not the last. I'd put real money on that.

    You mean like the real money you put into the mortgages/home loans you profess to have defaulted on?!?!?

  • BYODB||

    Amusingly people said the exact same thing about Bush before 9/11. Go figure.

  • Tony||

    And it was true for a few years.

  • JuanQPublic||

    "W. Bush expanded the federal government."

    And Trump isn't? Did we miss something?

    Jeff Sessions? "Rebuild the military"? "Infrastructure"?

  • CE||

    Trump is an old school Democrat.

  • Lester224||

    Trump isn't anything. He has no stable belief system with the exception of self-promotion.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Republican platform details things that Trump is trying to do. McCain does things that are diametrically opposed to that platform. He's a RINO.

    Just because you used to say you are a Democrat or whatever does not mean that you cannot be a Republican later and push conservative ideals.

    GOP platform

    Presidents don't pass legislation.

  • Calidissident||

    Platforms get rewritten constantly to adjust to whoever is on the ticket as well as the whims of the public. You can find a laundry list of ways Trump contradicts stated Republican policy. If McCain, Bush, and Cruz are all RINOs, then so is Trump. Unless you're saying Trump = GOP.

    Presidents don't pass legislation, but they tend to have a major role in crafting key legislation behind the scenes, not to mention making the case for it, selling it to the public, and selling it to lawmakers. Why do you think the ACA is constantly referred to as Obamacare instead of Pelosicare or Reidcare? Trump failed miserably on all counts.

  • GeoffB1972||

    The GOP had already passed this bill multiple times when they knew it would be vetoed. If they're unwilling to pass it with the knowledge it would be signed, the fault is not with Trump.

  • Calidissident||

    That only follows if you assume fault is a zero sum thing that can only be on one party or the other. The logical conclusion is a) several Republicans back then were playing political games when voting for those bills knowing they'd be vetoed and b) Trump nonetheless was terrible at displaying any sort of leadership on the issue to get enough votes to pass a bill. Those aren't mutually exclusive scenarios.

  • ||

    What exactly is a RINO if not Trump? I've always been amused at how broadly and contradictory that term gets used.

    Even if we absurdly assume nothing outside the party, is there a rule book that says you can't have two RINOs (or DINOs for that matter) on opposite sides of the platform, label them both as such, and pit them against each other?

    The only way this makes sense is if you definitively identify some part of the GOP as both definitively as far right as possible *and* as wholly representative of the GOP as possible. Otherwise, it's possible for the GOP to have a party policy and for party members to veer both left and right.

    Hillary/Bill Clinton wanted/wants to jail more people for using drugs even if it means putting more minorities in prison. Bernie Sanders, the ideologically self-identifying socialist, wants to jail fewer minorities. If the party platform is jailing more drug users and fewer minorities, who's the wannabe democrat and who's the real deal?

    I'd say you lack imagination but it's more like awareness. Your thinking is one dimensional if you round up.

  • Calidissident||

    Fair point, but the implication of iloveconstitution's comment was that Trump isn't a RINO, but Bush, Cruz, and McCain are. I don't care whether or not anyone considers the latter 3 to be RINOs (though to be honest, this is the first time I've ever heard that label used against Cruz), I just find it amusing that Trump somehow evades that label while the others don't.

  • tommhan||

    Why should he have to try to push it through Congress? They had already passed a bill to terminate this awful Obamacare. It should have sailed through, at least one of the versions of replace or just repeal should have sailed through Congress. This is what people voted for this time and these congressman may pay in the next election. It is unfair to blame the man that both sides are working against. He is the man that was voted to accomplish what the American workers want and these idiot congressman know that.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Trump is a Washington political scene outsider and he demolished the establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Cruz, so he must be made to fail and hopefully not be re-elected.

    FTSTIWSU*

    *fixed that so the idiots would shut up

  • Brian Whittle||

    Trump is the ultimate RINO, he only got involved with politics because he hates Obama for "reasons" and had zero chance as a Democrat.

  • Tony||

    His excuse being that he has no business holding the job he has as he is both completely incompetent at it and generally a moron? Did anyone give Obama such leeway?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Yes.

  • Finrod||

    Yes, everyone on Team Blue, including you.

  • Tony||

    The cool thing for people like me is that we can rightly treat any of the nit-picking hysteria you guys engaged in with Obama is all moot considering the psychotic horse in a burning stable we have now.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It really isn't. But then you're a racist, communist, parasite, slaver without any real intellect or an ounce of integrity. In fact it appears to be a point of pride with you progtards that you have no ethics or morals.

  • Tony||

    Tell me more about the ethics and morals of Trump and the Republican party. Disenfranchise any black people today? Fondle any women against their will? What about treason? Up to any of that lately?

  • Bruce D||

    Liberal clichè accusations.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    You took those cretins seriously before? That's stupid.

  • Tony||

    Not seriously enough, apparently. One of them runs the world now.

  • Bruce D||

    Still orders of magnitude better than Hillary.

  • IceTrey||

    He's a natural born Citizen, over 35 and 14 years a resident. He meets all the qualifications.

  • MJBinAL||

    Must have, he "served" for 8 years.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Great comment Tom.

    Suderman gets everything so right except when he writes Congress "may never have intended to" repeal and replace Obamacare. I thought it's easy to see most of the GOP really likes the government takeover of health insurance, they just pretend to be against it to get elected. They're mostly big government RINOs who sell favors that shouldn't be sold to get elected.

  • IceTrey||

    The one thing I've agreed with Ted Cruz on was when he said on Fox that he would vote for a one sentence bill that says "The ACA is repealed".

  • Tony||

    Needs 60 votes. Would result in millions of coverage losses. But other than that, at least it's simple.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Or, as I like to call it, "First World Apocalypse 2017."

  • Juice||

    Would result in millions of coverage losses.

    Didn't stop Obamacare from being law. Millions lost their policies (me included) when it went into effect.

  • Tony||

    Numbers don't lie, even if you do. 20 million newly insured because of the law. Mostly through Medicaid expansion, granted.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Medicaid is not insurance.

  • Tony||

    All the better.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    And it's all gone no bye bye because Obamacare is imploding as everyone with a brain (not you) knew it would. You really are a malignant tumor.

  • Tony||

    Define imploding. Be specific.

  • BYODB||

    One to zero insurers in a given area's exchange or double-digit rate hikes each year. Otherwise known as a death spiral, but you already knew that you're just being retarded.

  • Juice||

    People use numbers to lie all the time and 20 million newly insured is a lie. Even if it were not inflated, most newly "insured" were put on Medicaid, which has pretty terrible outcomes, practically worse than having no coverage at all.

    And of course I didn't lie. I lost my policy and was offered similar coverage with 2x the premium if I wanted 2x the deductible or 3x the premium if I wanted a similar deductible.

    I didn't have insurance for a year because of Obamacare and I only got new insurance because I went from contract work with no benefits to a job with benefits.

  • Tony||

    Nobody said the law was perfect. What is your alternative? Be rich or die, right?

  • BYODB||

    Au contraire, Democrats through a lack of any actions whatsoever to reform any portion of the ACA whatsoever, regardless of the evidence of it's many faults on a purely non-partisan level, implies that many do indeed act as if the ACA was immaculately written and therefore can not be changed in any way, shape, or form.

    So nice try, retard. Point me at a single Democrat effort to reform the ACA despite the fact that premiums have only gone up by more than 200% since it was passage when it was passed specifically to lower the price of premiums.

    That is such an obvious fail it would take a retard to miss it, retard.

  • Tony||

    They lost their power by passing the law in the first place and never got it back. Republicans have majorities now, so why aren't you bitching at them?

  • BYODB||

    You don't need power to write legislation, and it would appear that there are at least two or three Republicans who would be willing to vote on a compromise. Trump was a Democrat for his entire life up until perhaps a few years ago, giving them millions of dollars. What makes you think he won't work with them?

  • IceTrey||

    "Republicans have majorities now, so why aren't you bitching at them?"

    You need 60 defeat a filibuster.

  • MJBinAL||

    We are.

  • ||

    Tony, you are an idiot, it was passed in 2010...they had six years to fix it.

  • IceTrey||

    Free market capitalism. Let people buy whatever insurance they want from whomever they want from wherever they want however they want. Remove the AMA's monoploy on licensing of doctors. End the requirement for Certificates of Need to build new healthcare facilities. Allow HSAs. End the income tax so people have more money to spend on their health.

  • epsilon given||

    My alternative is to stop pretending that we've had anything close to free-market health care, roll back decades of government regulation that has really screwed up the market, and let the free market lower premiums and increase values.

    Instead, we got the "Affordable" Care Act, carefully crafted by bureaucrats and lawmakers who, despite having no experience in health care, magically know how to reduce costs and increase the value of plans -- and behold, when their expertise is demonstrated, it *raises* premiums and *decreases* values of plans.

    Yet you're certain that this means these same bureaucrats and lawmakers will somehow fix health care once we make it single payer. And once it goes single payer, it will literally be "Be rich or die" health care, because, as it has been demonstrated time and time again, only the rich in countries with single payer health care have a chance to get good health care in a timely manner.

  • swampwiz||

    By claiming that Medicaid is worse than no coverage, you have shown your complete ignorance. Please go away.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Would result in millions of coverage losses

    Nah, it would just result in Medicaid being rolled back.

  • BYODB||


    Needs 60 votes. Would result in millions of coverage losses. But other than that, at least it's simple.

    You mean the coverage loss that is at least partially the result of no longer being punished by law for not having insurance? That coverage loss? Or the loss of people being kicked off Medicaid who would need to actually go and buy insurance?


    Be specific, retard.

  • Finrod||

    Exactly. Most of the people that would end up uninsured if Obamacare was repealed are people that don't want health insurance.

    It takes a leftist to force someone to buy something they don't want and then claim that it makes the country a better place.

  • Tony||

    I don't want to pay for car insurance either, but for some reason government thinks it logical for me to have skin in the game should I own a car that might damage people and property.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    You don't have to own a car. That's a spurious analogy, long having been shown as one. Update your pathetic rhetoric you fucking moron.

  • Tony||

    Exactly. But one does have to own a body.

  • BYODB||

    We heard it here; Tony believes in a life tax. If you don't pay the tax, well, we all know what happens.

  • IceTrey||

    You can kill yourself.

  • MJBinAL||

    please

  • BYODB||

    No surprise that Tony doesn't understand that the analogy of catastrophic only coverage for healthcare was made illegal by the ACA, yet is still legal if you're buying auto insurance.

    Also it's no surprise that Tony fails at even basic reasoning, since driving is a matter of choice by-and-large but the only way to escape the requirement for health insurance is by being dead.

    And, just for giggles, Tony doesn't understand that insurance can not cover sure expenditures as a matter of pure fact. What would your car insurance rate be if you had a car accident every day?

    Nice job, retard.

  • MJBinAL||

    Or more specifically, does your car insurance cover oil changes? Annual safety inspections? Mechanical wear and tear? The fact is that most of what you call insurance is not insurance, it is sharing of normal costs of living.

  • Bruce D||

    Other people and other people's property.

  • MJBinAL||

    It is pretty clear Tony, that you do not want to work, do not want to think, and are pretty much devoid of any moral or ethical standards. Obviously, hanging around on the internet, and at Reason in particular, is what you do for entertainment in your extensive idle time.

  • MJBinAL||

    That would be wonderful.
    Especially since most of the increased "coverage" is medicaid not insurance. ie, welfare.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "Back in 2013, when Obamacare's exchanges went online, and immediately crashed, it was clear that many Republicans were simply not interested in productive health policy improvements. Instead, they viewed the struggles of the health care law strictly as a political cudgel to wield against political opponents."

    Oh, FFS. You can sprinkle paprika on a turd sandwich, I still don't want it.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I t must be rough for McConnell and his pals. It's tough to get things done when you're bought and paid for.

  • Marshal||

    Republicans were never really serious about developing a replacement plan that could pass.

    Why not nothing? Oh right, scary scary freedom.

    Back in 2013, when Obamacare's exchanges went online, and immediately crashed, it was clear that many Republicans were simply not interested in productive health policy improvements. Instead, they viewed the struggles of the health care law strictly as a political cudgel to wield against political opponents.

    This conclusion may have the most unsupported logical justification in the history of reason magazine. Congratulations.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "Trump's inexperience is a factor here. But the outsider president's expectations were set in large part by seven years of Republican promises to repeal and replace the health care law. And throughout that time, Republicans were never really serious about developing a replacement plan that could pass."
    Its not inexperience. Its that RINOs refuse to do what they promised and Trump is trying to do what he promised. Its that Trump is NOT like establishment politicians.

    Secondly, most of the years since ObamaCare passed it was straight repeal and nothing about replacement.

    Trump probably does not care if a replacement is passed but there needs to be language passed by Congress that says ObamaCare is hereby repealed

  • Tony||

    Why?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Because ObamaCare is unconstitutional no matter what the Robert's majority says.

    The Constitution gives no authority for government to compel people to buy health insurance.

  • Rebel Scum||

    And chief justice penaltax forgot that revenue bills must originate in the house.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That too.

  • Juice||

    There was no majority decision on the unconstitutional mandate. 4 said it's authorized under the commerce clause (incorrect), 4 said it wasn't (correct), and Roberts said it was authorized under the taxing power as long as the penalty was enforced in certain ways by the IRS (dubious because the actual law did not have the penalty as a tax).

  • Tony||

    The supreme court decides what's constitutional, and it decided. So if that's your only objection, I suggest catching up on the news and relaxing.

  • BYODB||

    Of course, another Supreme Court could say that it is not constitutional. This is known. Unless you believe that slavery is indeed constitutional.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    One more real conservative in the court and you'll be singing a different tune. Funny how the constitution only works for your kind circumstantially.

  • Tony||

    I thought you morons were against activist courts. Or have you just dropped that line of horseshit completely?

  • BYODB||

    Of course Tony doesn't understand the difference between an activist court that rewrites legislation post-facto and a court that limits the government based upon the text of the constitution.

    That's because to Tony, the court is there to legislate and he can not conceive of a system that does not function in that way.

  • Tony||

    The courts can rewrite law all they want as long as it conforms to my ideological preoccupations!

  • BYODB||

    Way to prove you don't understand the difference. Again.

  • Tony||

    The difference being that you're right and everyone else is wrong? How nice that must be for you to be the only person a court gets to be activist for. And how lucky!

  • Azathoth!!||

    It is not 'activist' to strip away unconstitutional activist decisions and precedents.

  • MJBinAL||

    We appreciate the depth of your knowledge of constitutional law.

    Just as an observation, if a constitution is "living", ie, it's meaning can change over time, and it is intended to be a check on, a restraint on, government, then it is not really a check or restraint at all, and is not really a constitution.

    A fence has no value, if the animals in the pen can move it.

  • ||

    I'm SURE you say the same thing regarding Citizens United, Tony. What a mimbo.

  • Tony||

    Ah, so you decide what's constitutional and what's not. Not the supreme court, you.

    I'm glad we can have these little conversations here at the intellectual hub of the internet.

  • epsilon given||

    What's so magical about nine Harvard and Yale grads in black robes, that makes it so that their decrees on Constitutionality can never be argued against or refuted or debated? Are they infallible angels sent to us by God?

  • ||

    [Eric Cantor] says that Republicans knowingly overpromised on what was possible

    So they lied.

    I'm shocked. SHOCKED!

  • Rebel Scum||

    "And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."

    You had 7 years, jackass. And of course he has different expectations, the private sector expects results.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."

    Translation: We are swamp people stuck in quicksand. We are especially adept at coming in late and over budget.

  • Tony||

    Aww, did Republicans plan on harassing Hillary Clinton for 8 years instead of being faithful stewards of the people's government?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Yes.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Lol, they probably did which is why they were able to raise $100 million on Jeb's failed campaign.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Who knows about GOP plans. Hillary LOST.

  • Tony||

    I know about GOP plans.

    Hillary's win was stolen from her by traitors. The ones whose cocks you are sucking.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tomy, I look forward to the eventual armed revolution that appears ever more likely. You won't like the result.

    Hint: Hopefully you enjoy decomposing in a landfill piled under thousands of other progtards.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Remember: back when democrat plans were champagne drinking and smug assholiness for the next 4-8 years?

    Those were fun days.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I look forward to the days when democrats are enemies of the republic and running for their lives.

  • Tony||

    Who is this character? It's cute.

  • MJBinAL||

    Does anybody have any idea what Tony is? I mean, his arguments seem to go around and around kinda like shit going down the toilet. Is he a human, or someone's experiment in AI? He doesn't fully pass the Turing test, but is so close.

    Thoughts?

  • epsilon given||

    Ah, so you think the 60 million people who voted for Trump (or even didn't vote for Hillary -- after all, she may have gotten more popular votes than Trump, but she didn't get above 50%) are traitors.

    What a coincidence, though: I consider the 60 million people who voted for Hillary to be traitors to our country too. They wanted to put a power-hungry corrupt harpy in the White House, so that they could finish their efforts to destroy freedom in America. I'm really happy she didn't manage to steal the election, even if it means suffering through the bumblings of President Trump for the next four to eight years!

  • Bruce D||

    Awwwwwwwww.....poor Hillary. Boo Hoo Hoo!
    Your girl LOST (!!!!), dude! You must still really be hatin' it! Haw! Haw! Haw! Haw! Haw! As bad as you feel is how relieved I feel that Hillary LOST!!!

  • ace_m82||

    Yes, but as there have hardly been any "faithful stewards" in all of history, that shouldn't surprise anyone.

  • BYODB||


    But the outsider president's expectations were set in large part by seven years of Republican promises to repeal and replace the health care law.


    So, we're just all going to run with the outright lie that Republicans campaigned on replacing Obamacare. You know why you have to phrase it as 'repeal and replace'? It's because the only word anyone actually remembers is repeal because that's the only thing they were saying.


    If they had been saying 'repeal and replace' they could have just said replace, dumbass.

    Sorry, but I'm sick of this lie and I'm done with it.

  • Chaz||

    You can limit Google searches and find plenty of instances they talked about it in that form.

    "I think the slogan will be "repeal and replace", "repeal and replace," Mr. McConnell said.
    That's from March 2010.

  • Chaz||

    2010 GOP Pledge to America, which includes a section on "A 'Plan to Repeal and Replace...": http://pledge.gop.gov/resource.....merica.pdf

    McCain in 2010 after he won the Senate primary. Repeal and Replace at 4:40 mark, even in the Fox headline: http://video.foxnews.com/v/432.....obamacare/

    Republican Senator Judd Greg in 2010: "Our view is, you repeal and replace this bill. You replace it with better law and better approaches towards health care. We have them. I have a proposal. A number of other members have proposals. Some of them are even bipartisan."

    Paul Ryan in 2010: "Obviously we're not for keeping this law," he continued. "We should repeal it and replace it with reform … but not just to go back to the status quo that we knew yesterday. That wasn't sustainable, either. We've been saying all along we want to fix what's broken in healthcare without breaking what's working in healthcare. So repeal and replace it with something better."

    I can go on...

  • Chaz||

    Here's a fun one. McCain at Campaign Rally (with Sarah Palin by his side) in 2010 shouting "Repeal and Replace" 5 times in a row. I'm surprised he didn't run out of breath and fall over: https://goo.gl/TsE2h8

    Boehner after the mid-term election in 2010: "I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world, and bankrupt our country," Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told a news conference. "That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common sense reforms to bring down the cost of health care.

  • Red Twilight||

    Because they never wanted to. At most, they wanted to repeal. And had they done that, they'd made health care out of reach for far too many of their constituents.

    Look at their last proposal:

    Pass this bill so that we can write what's in it

  • ||

    If there's one thing I hope Trump cements into the Presidency is its unfiltered integration into social media. My word, is this entertaining. To directly go after a sitting majority leader, multiple times in one news cycle...it's just awesome. It's why I think there's a good chance Trump will maintain his base, or even expand it. Until he presses the big red button, it's simply refreshing and far too entertaining to want it to end.

    Mitch, get back to work

    Fucking awesome. Even if this is just the broken clock theory at work, it's still awesome. Fuck filters.

    I bet Truman would've been the king of Twitter.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It doesn't help McConnel's case that he is an ineffective, corrupt, feckless piece of crap that looks like an octogenarian turkey.

  • widget||

    Republicans, my party for lack of a better, should introduce a basic single-payer government health care program.

    widget's CRAZY! Give me a chance.

    We've already had a basic single-payer government health care program and had so for 30+ years. Reagan required hospitals to treat the sick whether they could pay for it or not.

    What we have now is that everyone will get some medical care.

    What we're doing as a government is to force every small business into creating their own little basic health insurance entitlement for their employees. The inefficiency of this should be obvious. But it's not government run! No, but it's mandated which is the same thing in the end.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The same logic gave us the 16th ammendment and that turned out well.

  • widget||

    No, my suggestion is a push.

    It concedes no ground that has already been lost. Practically, it stops out team from making own goals.

  • widget||

    let me spell that correctly:

    It concedes no ground that has not already been lost. Practically, it stops our team from making own goals.

  • BYODB||

    Sure, I mean I guess you could say that if you're in a war and you're losing you should just target your own ships. That way, when your ships explode, you can say you won because you did the destroying.

    Makes sense, if you're insane.

  • Tony||

    Or you could just surrender like a man. Look at the world. It's not going away from government-run healthcare anytime soon. And certainly not because you people have such great ideas.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, you know nothing about being a man. Other than getting fucked by one.

  • Tony||

    That doesn't even make sense.

  • MJBinAL||

    True, it makes no sense. How do you fuck someone's AI experiment?

  • BYODB||

    In what way is surrendering 'manly', specifically? Is your epitome of manliness the French? Perhaps.

    If you pay attention to anything I've ever actually written on the subject (you haven't) then you would know that I personally understand that single-payer is an inevitability. That doesn't make it, or the very real shortages that will result, 'right'. It makes the people who force those systems into place assholes who are forcing people to die who would have otherwise had timely access to care. (And no, insurance is not access to care no matter how much you masturbate on that subject.)

    All you're doing is fucking over the majority of Americans by ensuring less actual healthcare is available to everyone based on a lie. You are reducing the supply. The sad part is you're too stupid to ever grasp that.

    The greatest irony of all is that people like you feel safe handing all control of your healthcare over to the Republicans in either scenario. I mean, what, do you seriously believe that our 'government' will only ever consist of Democrats and honest one's at that? Laughable. We'll see how you feel when a future Congress decides that people with your condition simply don't get care, period, and you have absolutely no recourse whatsoever because the entity you would go to for redress is the very one fucking you over.

  • IceTrey||

    MORE freedom is not a great idea? Do you want one type of phone or soap or car or fast food etc.? No because that would be the USSR. Why do you want one type of health insurance? It's literally insane.

  • Tony||

    Yeah, if you're a fucking retard who uses the word "freedom" to describe every nonsense ideological proposal farted out by pale geeks at the heritage foundation.

    Of course that includes Obamacare. Oopsie.

  • BYODB||

    That moment when you admit it's a heritage foundation idea after defending the ACA as great legislation because the Democrats gave it to us. You are impossible to parody.

  • Tony||

    Point to one time I've called it great legislation.

  • IceTrey||

    Uh, this isn't a Republican website you know.

  • epsilon given||

    The Heritage Foundation? Big deal. Get to me when Congress implements something from the Cato Institute.

  • MJBinAL||

    Which actually refutes your point.

    If they actually used the word "freedom" in manner you describe, they would indeed use it to describe YoMamaCare. Since they are disparaging YoMamaCare, that proves they do not in fact use the word "freedom" as you describe.

    See what I mean about ideas that go around and around like shit down a toilet?

  • Alan Vanneman||

    One has to feel sorry (a little) for Trump. It was McConnell who started this pissing match, and McConnell, I would say, bears more blame than anyone else. He could (maybe) have written a bill that would have passed the Senate, but it would have been significantly different from the House bill. Instead of doing real work, he simply fiddled with the House bill, which was very largely about cutting Medicaid to give tax cuts to millionaires. The resulting mess did not pass the Senate, and did not deserve to. Essentially McConnell's position seems to have been "Trump should have known we were lying about repealing the ACA and should have given us political cover while we walked away from all our pledges." How McConnell thought the Republicans could get away with lying about the ACA for seven years is a mystery.

  • CE||

    Because taking away free stuff is bad for politicians' job security?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I do so enjoy libertarians sticking to their principles in advocating for a national health care policy, preferably one that ignores medicaid reform because it doesn't really matter.

  • ||

    Why?

    Because they're cucks.

    No need for fancy shmancy articles.

    Also, small quibble, Trump may not have "in-depth" understanding, but I didn't see any evidence of depth during Obama's reign of mediocrity.

  • Tony||

    Is it all people who use the word "cuck" seriously who also think Trump is some kind of improvement on something?

    Just need to know whom to avoid in bar conversations.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    He causes you pain, which is a good thing.

  • Tony||

    Not yet, but there is the inevitable Republican recession. And then there's always the possibility he'll try to nuke North Korea and miss.

  • ||

    No, Tony. It doesn't mean that. I know it's hard for you to compute but there it is.

  • Tony||

    Just to be clear, you're using a word as an epithet that means someone's female significant other is cheating with a black dude?

  • Headache||

    Cuck is shortened from cuckold, a term that has been belittling the "husband of an unfaithful wife" since the 1200s. The word cuckold derives from a French word for the cuckoo bird. Just as the female cuckoo lays eggs in other birds' nests, so a cuckold's wife, as it's said, sleeps in another man's bed.

    Leave it to a progressive to change the meaning of a word, so as to, insert race.

  • ||

    Party of science and reason we're told.

  • MJBinAL||

    See, Tony's programmer still has some work to do. His ability to access and apply common reference materials is still not debugged.

  • Finrod||

    If McConnell wanted Obamacare repealed, it would be repealed. Look at Murkowski and Capito, has anything been done to take away their primo committee chairmanships and memberships over them flipping the bird to the rest of the GOP caucus? Of course not.

  • Dillinger||

    booooooo, MItch McConnell.

  • Brandybuck||

    There are a ton of good policy proposals out there from conservative and libertarian think tanks. It's not like the elected Republicans are started from scratch. They DON'T want to do anything, they get more mileage out of bitching rather than doing. That's what you get with party that has abandoned all ideas in favor of merely being the opposition party.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Congress needs to learn to obey. We desperately need to eliminate the direct election of senators and go back to the old system. Just imagine the AZ legislature getting fed up with McCain's bullshit, and recalling him over a long weekend, then replacing him the following week.

  • Tony||

    Let's just make you emperor, how about? You seem almost sane. Not quite, but probably enough to get matching socks on.

  • Longtobefree||

    NO! make ME emperor!
    (sandals do not need socks, problem solved)
    I can fix both health care and health care insurance in four years without major disruption to the economy, or next week with a major disruption to the economy. Mostly because I know health care and health care insurance are actually two different problems.

  • MJBinAL||

    See what I mean about access to reference materials? "Tony" has no idea that that was the original method for selecting US Senators and that they were representative of the States. Only members of the US House of Representatives were directly elected.

  • Trigger Warning||

    So it's the executive branch's fault that the legislative branch is composed mostly of cowards, imbeciles, and Republican apparatchik?

    Uncle Dolan is an embarrassing dolt, but so is Lech McConnell. McConnell is now a very public coward and failure. At least Trump said he would sign whatever they passed.

  • Zunalter||

    Why Republicans Didn't Repeal and Replace Obamacare
    The entire party is at fault.

    Politicians, from any party, are going to do what they think is in their best interests. It is really the fault of a dumb and uninterested electorate that won't hold their feet to the fire. The only chance is to convince R's that not passing a repeal will have worse political consequences than passing one.

  • Arcxjo||

    McConnell's a lying fucktard. It took 1 night to pass the ACA; blaming "the democratic process" for 7 GORRAM YEARS not being enough to repeal it.

  • Headache||

    Democrats and their allies on the left spent nearly two decades working through ideas and building broad consensus.

    Ah, nearly a century, at least since the anti-liberty Wilson administration.

  • Headache||

    Here is a repeal law that the entire congress should support.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  • IceTrey||

    But the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to do anything it wants!

  • Longtobefree||

    Not to mention the ever elastic "general welfare"

  • bflat879||

    I very seldom disagree with commentary I read in REASON, however, in this one I don't believe the Republicans need anyone trying to save them from judgement, they deserve all the criticism they're getting. The problem with Republicans is they're always unprepared to legislate. The only time I've seen them do the right thing was when Newt was in charge in the House.

    WIth Clintoncare, the message should have been, "something needs to be done about healthcare, we need to have a plan." instead the Republicans cheered the fact that they dodged a bullet. Sorry, there's no excuse for this failure and the fact that it did fail is because they have no leadership.

  • ||

    You realize that's a losing strategy right?

  • jerbigge||

    No one in power seems to understand that it is possible to reduce the cost of health care. Of course this means that those involved in any way with health care is going to suffer a loss of income. Those who face a possible loss of income will fight to defend the incomes they are presently receiving. They are the ones who will donate large sums of money to political candidates to see that it doesn't happen.

    What things could we do to reduce the cost of health care:
    1. Repeal prescription laws. These were passed by the FDR administration in 1938.
    2. Repeal laws forbidding the private import of medical drugs from other countries.
    3. Allow foreign trained doctors to practice medicine here.
    4. Create "tiers" of medical providers and institutions so those with simple issues can pay less for care.

  • Longtobefree||

    Or just let individuals shop for both health care and for health care insurance.
    There is no insurance price pressure because most 'consumers' of health insurance can only say yes or no to whatever is offered by their employer. Most men I know would not select a policy that covered maternity and OB/GYN. Most women would not willingly pay for prostate care. Companies select policies that will keep the feds off their back. The other issue is that 'health insurance' is mostly pre-paid health care, with a bit of catastrophic coverage thrown in. Insurance should be to cover unexpected expenses. If insurance companies were required to pay benefits according to the policy, and not according to who you see, there could be price shopping.
    On the healthcare side, there is no individual price pressure because insurance 'networks' tell customers who they must see.
    If all health care providers were required to charge the same price to everyone (no network 'discounts'), and post those prices, then consumers could actually shop.

  • MJBinAL||

    jerbigge and Longtobefree are both correct.

  • Lester224||

    >1. Repeal prescription laws. These were passed by the FDR administration in 1938.
    >2. Repeal laws forbidding the private import of medical drugs from other countries.
    >3. Allow foreign trained doctors to practice medicine here.
    >4. Create "tiers" of medical providers and institutions so those with simple issues can pay less for care

    Some problems:

    - Local monopolies of hospital groups: resulting in no competition to drive down prices
    - Lack of providers in rural areas: resulting in no competition to drive down prices
    - Lack of more than one insurance company connected to local providers in many areas: resulting in no competition to drive down prices

    It won't help to just "let individuals shop for both health care and health care insurance" if monopolistic circumstances leave them with no choices of either insurance or providers.

    Requiring price transparency for treatments would be helpful. That would require some regulations.

  • AngelaM||

    Republicans could not come up with a plan to replace Obamacare because the ACA is essentially a Republican plan developed by the Heritage foundation and enacted in Mass by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney. The program could have been better with Republican input and bi-partisan cooperation but it was enacted when Sen. McConnell was committed to making Obama a one term president. No surprise that their intransigence has come back to bite them in the ass.

  • epsilon given||

    I would propose that the Republicans were right to oppose ACA. It isn't all that difficult to look at what happened to Massachusetts, and see that RomneyCare was failing.

    And the Democrats were so intent on taking things over that they thought it would be better to go it alone, rather than try to wait until they could get bipartisan support themselves. That, and they were also *very* stupid not to look at Massachusetts and see that RomneyCare was failing, and instead adopt it wholesale.

    Both parties would do well to realize that government can't do anything right when it comes to health care, and that health care would be better if government just got out of the way.

  • Free Oregon||

    We've got expensive, poor healthcare and a system that's taking down the US economy by sucking out 60% of retail sales.

    The premise for Obamacare and for all forms of government healthcare is wrong.

    What's worth funding is prevention - nutritious food, lifestyle changes, supplements tailored to an individual's epigenetic status.

    That's quality care.

    By the time you start treating symptoms it's late, and costly.

  • Tony||

    What counts as nutritious food is often decided by people who don't know what the shit they're talking about.

  • epsilon given||

    You're completely right. Thanks, Department of Agriculture! Without the Food Pyramid, we probably won't have the diabetes and obesity epidemics we have today!

  • p3orion||

    The GOP said "we have to control the House." The voters gave them control of the House. "We need a majority in the Senate." The voters gave it to them. "Now we need a Republican in the White House."

    We're still waiting for that one.

  • Gandydancer||

    "...elected Republicans failed for years to seriously engage with the question of how to replace the health care law... In other words, it's the entire party's fault."

    Nonsense. No amount of planning could change the fact that the Republicans didn't elect a large enough majority for those in favor of repealing Obamacare to spare those who didn't when trying to overcome the Democrat noes. Repaeting the passage of the 2015 repeal lost seven votes and that's five more than could be spared. It wasn't closeand was never going to be, no matter what.

  • Longtobefree||

    Obama, for example, helped smooth over lingering differences amongst Democrats, and made it a priority to sell his bill to the public, in great length and detail.

    And indeed, he sold a bill of goods to the public. If the president was a corporation, he would be in jail for 17 lifetimes for false advertising.

  • ||

    Every day both Rep and Dems reveal the ineptness of their mission and their disdain for the majority of America whom they have sworn to serve.
    This was a needed article that helps clear the mud from the swamp that has hidden their hatred for us.
    Boy I wish Ayn was back with us. Her heroes inspired.. Today's heroes just strut and cuss.

  • Brian Reilly||

    In fact, the majority (at least 50%, +1) of the elected Republican establishment, most of the "Republican" lobbyist crowd, and the "conservative" press are broadly and silently in favor of a variant of single payer that PPACA (Obamacare to you rubes) leads inevitably towards. These Republicans just want to be able to direct the administration of the variant to their contributors in the health care payment industry, and avoid having a Federal program or a bunch of State employees do it, who will all be Dem and as union as can be arranged.

    Nobody in the US publicly thinks that they ought to have to pay any amount for any "medical" care they want or need at any time for any reason. When faced with being coerced to paying hundreds of dollars every month for an "insurance" plan that leaves them paying first dollar for the first 5 or 10 grand, it is understandable if not defensible. They are getting screwed all around, and they know it. Washington is an easy, fat target for the rage, and it has great bars for journos like Pete Suderman to hang out in.

    Look for more of the same, right up until it all falls down, and it will. Then it will be great care for the very wealthy and well connected, and cacth-as-catch-can for the rest of us, all 320 million. Lord help us, though we do not deserve it. We voted for all these assholes. We will vote for them again, too.

  • tlapp||

    The article completely missed the real reason republicans didn't repeal Obamacare. Many of them support it with only minor changes. Romney, the father of Obamacare, was their candidate in 2012 and never backed off his support of an individual mandate. NEVER confuse republicans with small government, freedom loving conservatives and libertarians.

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