A Premature Postmortem on Obamacare Repeal
It’s hard to be an elected Republican in 2017. It’s been said that they’re the dog that caught the car and that’s probably a better description than I could muster.
I’m old enough to remember a time before Obamacare. My conservative friends would complain about how uninsured people would walk into the hospital, get their treatments, and walk away without ever paying the bill. It drove up the costs for the rest of us. That was, before Obamacare, why nobody I knew could afford healthcare. Those fucking uninsured and their lack of personal responsibility.
So what was the solution? The Heritage Foundation, a right wing think tank, came up with a good one. Legislate personal responsibility. Require every American to have health insurance. And if they don’t, fine them. That way nobody will ever walk into a hospital and use precious resources without being able to pay the bill. There was no doubt in their minds that this would solve the problem. Mitt Romney, while (Republican) governor of Massachussets, provided a small scale test case to show that it worked.
To be far, it wasn’t a bad idea. At least until some liberal communist Kenyan born “President” showed up and stole it and put his name on it. Then the right had to oppose it. So at that moment, the Republican had two choices. They could stand up and yell “Hey that [ REDACTED ] stole our idea and put his name on it!” And that might have fired some people up for a few days. But it wasn’t going to sweep them back into power. So instead they stood up and yelled “Socialism!” And America bought it. In 2016, the Republicans were handed the keys to every branch of the Federal government with what appeared to be a mandate to save America from the scourge of Obamacare.
There was only one problem. There’s nothing to the right of Obamacare. It was born out of a right wing think tank famous for identifying brown-skinned countries that are ripe for invasion. You can’t get any more traditionally Republican than mandating “personal responsibility.”
So Republicans were once again left with two choices. One was to take a page from Obama’s playbook, steal a more progressive health care plan, label it conservative, and push it through with minimal resistance. The other option was to pretend to do something about Obamacare by slapping a healthcare sounding title on a tax bill and try to ram that through. That way they could cut taxes for the ever oppressed $200k+ set (win) and claim to have repealed Obamacare without doing anything of the sort (bigger win). Trouble is, they got caught. And at least a few Republicans aren’t convinced that they can stop enough “illegals and criminals” from voting to keep them in office when they very publicly steal access to healthcare from millions of Americans to lower my capital gains tax.
We’ll spend the next year hearing about how Democratic obstructionism caused the Republicans to fail to fix our healthcare system. But the truth is the Republicans cock-blocked themselves. Repeatedly. The Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group had a pissing contest and all that came of it was a dripping McConnell and Ryan. The Democrats tweeted some stuff and actually held town halls instead of hiding on roofs, but they didn’t acually have to obstruct anything.
Much like everything related to and following the 2016 election on the Republican side, this healthcare bill was just a spectacular own goal. I said back in June of last year that nominating Trump would destroy the GOP for a decade and electing him would destroy the GOP for a generation. Today, I feel pretty good about that prediction.
I do feel bad for my conservative friends. But it’ll get better. Once your side is able to start engaging in the world of ideas again and can stop trying to carry water for the half wit kletpocrat that currently owns your party, it will get better. Until then, spend extra time in Leviticus. I hear it helps.