“Defund Obamacare Act” has a lot going for it. For one thing, it’s already been written and negotiated. Republican leadership supported the bill. The free-marketers voted for it. Thankfully, it also met with the endorsement of four moderate senators who recently sent a letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell with concerns over rollbacks of Medicaid expansion. Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Cory Gardner of Colorado all supported the bill — with Gardner and Portman co-sponsoring it.
Obviously, bills can be tweaked to incorporate new ideas or fix old ones, but it’s not as if this is a fleeting policy debate. The GOP’s ability to grab hundreds of seats on every level of government was predicated on the promises found in the “Defund Obamacare Act.” So unless Republicans were contemptuous frauds who voted for positions they didn’t truly believe in (sometimes more than 50 times), what case do they have against reintroducing a bill that is fundamentally the same?
Is it political considerations? Well, rest assured, Democrats will oppose any plan Republicans support by deploying identical rhetoric. No matter how watered down the bill is, or how many tenets of Obamacare it preserves, Republicans will be accused of attacking the poor, women, and minorities at the behest of the wealthy. For progressives, the difference between the “Defund Obamacare Act” and the “American Health Care Act” is zilch. Any policy that fails to further incentivize the growth of the state or dependence will be met with the same hyperbolic resistance. Republicans have nothing to lose by supporting a consequential reform bill.
If you’re a Republican, you can also take for granted that the American Medical Association and AARP — which endorsed Obamacare although nearly every poll showed seniors opposed the law and despite the fact that the law raided Medicare funds — and about every other group that prefers giant bureaucracies meting out health care will oppose even the most tepid free-market-oriented solutions. Unless you pay it off, the AARP will never be on your side.
For those who want to make hay out of the fact that Pubs don't even set much store by the nonpartisan CBO ( such as Albert Hunt) consider what Harsanyi points out about that august agency: "The CBO didn't come close to predicting the cost of the ACA."
So why isn't this being looked at?
Why was this not the course of action in late January 2017?