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Health Care Bill Meltdown Might Lead GOP To Accepting Moderate Reforms

March 15, 2017

Another day and another onslaught of bad news for House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump concerning the health care bill they are trying to sell to the American public.  The problem is the public is not buying what is being offered as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act—a law I strongly stand by.

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds just 24% of voters support the GOP health care bill as compared to 49% who are opposed.  That is where the worries must start today as the GOP comes to terms with a policy proposal that simply reeks.   And it is not just liberals and independents who feel disdain for the idea, but Republicans, too.  Even among Republican voters only 37% are in favor of the proposal to 22% who are against it, and 41% who aren’t sure one way or another.

No matter who you listen to from congress one thing is most clear.   Things are not going well at the White House as Trump stumbles about trying to find his footing on this large proposal.  He has no strong convictions about health care policy so is being tugged and pulled in various directions not knowing which way to head.  As a result of a bad proposal and leadership that is simply not being applied means the Republican’s health care overhaul efforts are unraveling.

Which is most remarkable as congressional Republicans have told the public for nearly a decade they would repeal and replace the ACA.  When one looks at the landscape of Washington today there is not one single solid rock on which the GOP can stand and make a claim to any degree of confidence that they are seriously fulfilling the promise they made to their base.  Their base, in fact, is distressed over the replacement part that is being offered to them.  No one is happy with the plan.

In the House harsh conservatives think it allows for health care to be seen as a right–which in fair-minded and liberal societies it most clearly is.  To allow for a continued program to assist people runs counters to the philosophy of this most conservative segment of congress.  Moderates who want to see more fairness for low-wage earners, and more accommodation on Medicaid are also rejecting this proposal.  Meanwhile the Senate is making it clear there is no way they wish to touch this piece of garbage.

I am not unaware–given all I have written– that there could still be a health care bill passed from this congress.  A bill for Trump to sign from this congress.  That is how politics works, of course.  But there is going to need to be a major set of revisions.    Note that the House was where this idea was all to flow with such ease, but instead the struggle to do so increases hourly.    To get to the end result of a bill for Trump to sign means there will be a requirement for many changes.

But the end result may be far different from the full repeal and replacement that the GOP base dreamed of, and was led to think possible by their candidates over the past election cycles.

But that is politics too.  And some conservatives will just have to swallow it.

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