According to the Republican leadership — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President Donald Trump in particular — last week marked a celebratory moment for conservatism. In particular, the House’s passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) marked two pieces of great news. First, the free market in health care had been saved from the depredations of leftist governance! Second, the free market will certainly not be allowed to run roughshod over those with preexisting conditions — the government will help them!
For most of my adult life, the Republican party has proclaimed to its supporters that it stands for free markets. Then, when the legislative process begins, the Republican party abandons its supposed free-market principles in favor of Democrat-lite policy. To bridge the gap, Republicans simply pretend that the latter is the former — they pretend that the government measures they embrace are actually free-market measures. So, for example, when it comes to the American Health Care Act, Ryan told Hugh Hewitt last week:
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