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The AHCA Died Because Some Republicans Still Have Values And Spines

With the news that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was pulled Friday, and President Trump showing signs that he’s ready to throw down some blame and retreat to 1600 Penn, it would be easy to feel defeated. However, there’s a silver lining.

Yes, House Republicans failed to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which has been an unmitigated disaster from its inception, and will only continue to get worse. Yes, House Republicans failed to draft replacement legislation that would lift the onerous regulations and break the anti-free market engineering of our current healthcare system. Yes, many Americans – with the goading of Democratic politicians – will come to believe that the burning garbage heap that was the AHCA was the “conservative” solution, and gravitate toward whatever unsustainable nonsense the Left has to offer.

All of that really sucks – but conservatives didn’t back down. It may sound like a nothing burger, but a politician with a spine is harder to find than organic tissue in Cher’s face.

Conservatives in the House of Representatives didn’t bow down after the repeated browbeatings by fellow Republicans, nor – and this is arguably more important – did they capitulate to President Trump’s bully tactics.

In the days leading up to the vote, which was originally planned for Thursday but pushed to Friday, Trump issued several serious threats.

The New York Times reports:

As House leaders struggled to negotiate with holdouts in the hopes of rescheduling the vote, Mr. Trump sent senior officials to the Capitol with a blunt message: He would agree to no additional changes, and Republicans must either support the bill or resign themselves to leaving President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement in place.

Reuters reports:

Trump himself warned House Republicans in a meeting on Tuesday that their seats will be at risk next year if they do not support his healthcare bill, which would modify but not eliminate Obamacare …

Either vote for the AHCA, or Obamacare stays and you lose in 2018. That was President Trump’s message to conservatives in the House. Nevertheless, they persisted.

If House conservatives had gone along with the AHCA, they would have been complicit in advancing a chimera – socialized medicine with just a twist of market principle – genetically engineered to die. Such a plan isn’t simply unsustainable, it’s anathema to free-market conservatism.

Trump may blame conservatives for not repealing Obamacare; he may attempt to interfere in their re-elections; he may walk away from healthcare reform entirely. The situation isn’t pleasant, but those who stood on principle should be applauded because the AHCA would have done absolutely nothing to help Americans suffering under the Affordable Care Act – and isn’t that the point of repeal and replace?

For many Republicans, “repeal and replace” was just a winning campaign slogan. For others, it was, and is, a moral obligation – and they won’t stop until the Republican Party gets it right.

That’s the silver lining.

Follow Frank Camp on Twitter.

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