On Thursday, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that makes significant changes to Obamacare but leaves the underlying regulatory scheme largely intact. President Trump immediately hosted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the White House for some congratulatory victory speeches; the leftist media went insane; Trump supporters across the nation cheered.
Here are five things you need to know.
1. The Left Is Out Of Its Mind — Except The Ones Who Aren’t. The Left’s response to the House passage of the AHCA has bifurcated. On the one hand, we have the crazier partisans, who suggest that this means Republicans want to kill little old women in the streets to benefit their crony capitalist friends. Tom Perez, the increasingly insane head of the Democratic National Committee, stated “Trump and Republicans will own every preventable death.” How many will that be? According to Daily Kos, “millions.” These are the shock troops for the Democrats — the people who have to gin up the base for the 2018 election cycle. Then there are the members of the mainstream media, who are cleverly handing Trump a big win. They’re headlining that Trump has done something amazing here, and essentially owns the health care system now — and they know that whoever owns the health care system ends up with dog doo on their shoes.
2. This Is A Win For Trump And Ryan. The art of politics largely lies in exceeding expectations. After Obamacare repeal flamed out six weeks ago, expectations were in the gutter for both Trump and Ryan legislatively. Many people seemed to write off the possibility that they’d pass anything on health care for Trump’s whole term. Instead, they came back with this bill, which is deeply flawed, does not repeal Obamacare, and is likely to look very different after the Senate gets through with it. Still, Trump and Ryan — mostly Ryan — deserve credit for putting together a piece of legislation and passing it, particularly on an issue as controversial as health care.
3. This Doesn’t Repeal Obamacare, And Lying About It Is Dumb Politics. The biggest mistake Republicans have made here is that they are overpromising. By proclaiming that they’ve repealed Obamacare, they’re now signaling that the free market and Republicans own the health insurance system. Every bad thing that happens will now be on the Trump/Ryan credit card. Republicans could have passed an identical bill and called it a first step toward repealing Obamacare. Instead, they said that they had repealed and replaced it. Well, as Colin Powell once said, if they break it, they bought it. They now own it. And Democrats know it, which is why they’re excited for 2018.
4. The Senate Isn’t Going To Pass The House Bill. The Senate is already signaling that the House bill isn’t going to get a vote. Instead, the Senate will write its own bill, then come back to the House for committee. That means the House bill is the best we’re going to get — the Senate will likely strike provisions defunding Planned Parenthood, for example, as well as dramatically increasing federal money for Medicaid and restructuring grants for the elderly poor. Look for the Senate to move the bill to the left — precisely the biggest problem with the original House bill.
5. Spiking The Football Is The Dumbest Politics. Trump and Ryan meeting at the White House to celebrate — after the House passes the bill but not the Senate — is bizarre, at the very least. Trump is a Republican. Republicans run the House. They should be able to pass legislation. But the notion here was that a photo-op could convince the Republican base of the seriousness of the administration and the Republicans regarding repealing Obamacare, even if this wasn’t a repeal, and even if it doesn’t pass the Senate. That’s short-term politicking, and it’s incredibly dumb. Very few legislative photo-ops have ended well. This won’t be an exception. Look for the attack ads of Republican legislators laughing juxtaposed with scary graphics of poor elderly Americans and rising insurance premiums in 2018.
So, here’s the bottom line: Trump fans are fibbing that the AHCA repeals Obamacare, hoping their base won’t notice; Democrats are fibbing that the AHCA repeals Obamacare, hoping their base will go crazy; and the people left holding the bag are the free market advocates who know that the AHCA doesn’t repeal Obamacare, but that they will be blamed anyway for governmental failures thanks to Republican overpromising.