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After Trumpcare Debacle, Republicans Take On a More Vicious Agenda Against The Sick


After Trumpcare Debacle, Republicans Take On a More Vicious Agenda Against The Sick

The dramatic failure of the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare, after months of botched attempts, left Republicans with a basic choice between decency and nihilism. They have chosen the latter.

Bitter partisanship and ideological inflexibility are now driving Trump and his Republican allies to use the levers of government to vandalize the health care system, now fully under their control.

Instead of engaging in, at least, bare-minimal governing and bring basic stability back to health insurance markets, Republicans have now embraced a terrifying agenda: Sabotaging Obamacare.

The party’s conduct throughout the Obama years, and in the face of Donald Trump’s rise to power, should leave nobody confused as to which course they are taking.

Because the Affordable Care Act was proffered as a compromise between ideological liberals and conservatives, it isn’t particularly simple in design, and its complexity makes it vulnerable to sabotage. Indeed, Trump and his Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, have made no secret of their willingness to undermine the law they’re sworn to execute faithfully.

Even before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s eyes had dried early Friday morning, in the wake of his failed repeal vote, Trump was predictably telecasting his cruel intentions: stop Medicaid expansion from helping its beneficiaries.

The defeat of Trumpcare tells us something very valuable: There are at least 51 votes in the Senate for the proposition that sabotaging the health insurance system is bad—that however imperfect ACA’s reforms were, we shouldn’t go back to the vicious status quo ante of underwriting, rescission, annual and lifetime limits, adverse selection, and discrimination against the sick.

The debate over healthcare legislation now transitions into a new phase, dividing a small faction of the GOP that would like to be cooperative from a larger faction of indifferent or malicious Republicans who will happily let the president seek revenge by harming the public.

Sadly, in many ways, this will be a harder fight for Democrats than the repeal effort. The country’s only hope for avoiding this crisis would be the midterm election when the Democrats could return to power.

However badly Republicans botch the administration of Obamacare, there’s little they can do to stop Medicaid expansion from helping and satisfying its beneficiaries. The lesson there surely will be taken into account if and when the Democrats return to power, and Republicans bequeath them a private insurance market in shambles.

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