Thursday, March 23, 2017

Healthcare Showdown: Obamacare vs. Trumpcare

Remember when the Democrats were shoving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through Congress back in 2010?

It seemed like they were all singing from the same hymnal. Everyone knew to repeat the same talking points: If you like your plan... If you like your doctor... etc.

But with the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare it's like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. All the different conservative groups are fighting with one another. There is no single set of talking points.

Today there's going to be a vote on Speaker Ryan's American Health Care Act. Everyone is making predictions about pass or fail, but I'd say that the science says that every vote is a horse-trade, with many Republican votes available to the highest bidder until the last moment.

So we are in the same position as Obamacare, when Harry Reid was buying the votes of Democrats to get his bill passed in the Senate. Only it's the opposite.

I guess that while the Congress is so divided on an issue, it means that things aren't bad enough to warrant a reform.

Because in my view the problem with the government doing anything is that you can't get the votes to fix it until the boat has gone over the waterfall. That is why it is a bad idea for government to do anything other than fight wars.

But why is it that Democrats always seem to speak with one voice, whereas Republicans and conservatives always seem to be at sixes and sevens?

I'd say the reason is power. The left is interested in power, specifically the cultural power to name and shame and the political power to order people around or else. (Economic power comes as a free gift when you have cultural and political power. Corporate CEOs all know which side their bread is buttered.)

But the whole program of the right, excepting chaps like Hitler and Peron, is to limit power. We believe in the remarkable idea that a nation or a people does best when the cultural Torquemadas are kept in check and the political bosses don't have clunking fists to stitch up the whole town under their rule.

So when Republicans get into power we don't have a new cunning plan to buy votes like the Democrats do. We just want to find a way to release the shackles of big government, and every Republican as a different idea about where to start.

Then there is President Trump, the hero of the white working class, and they just want to go back to the good old days of the 1960s and good jobs at good wages, with pensions and health care for dessert.

I expect that all the flap about health care will subside when the west finally gets around to Doing Something about Islam.

But it will still be interesting to see if Speaker Ryan and President Trump manage to stitch together a majority in the House today for the American Health Care Act.

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