Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A "Stalemate" Caucus

There is a so-called “Freedom Caucus” of Republican members
of Congress, but it is obviously misnamed. It is really better
named the “Stalemate” Caucus because political paralysis is
the only result its efforts might produce.

This sub-group of the GOP house majority claims to have about
40 votes to block the repeal and replacement of Obamacare
legislation proposed and fashioned by House Speaker Paul Ryan,
and strongly supported by President Donald Trump. Most of
those who have spoken out against this proposal have claimed it
does not go far enough, and want a “pure” repeal with no viable
replacement. In effect, they want to leave millions of Americans
without any meaningful healthcare insurance. Tax credits in the
Ryan legislation are deemed by them as entitlements, and thus
unacceptable. What Speaker Ryan and his colleagues are saying
is that providing healthcare insurance to those who could not
otherwise purchase it is much cheaper and much more effective
than indigent Americans going to hospital emergency rooms for
care --- emergency rooms that are intended and needed for
emergency medical situations. Public health, they are also saying,
inevitably affects the entire community, not just those who have
healthcare coverage. The Ryan plan also devolves healthcare
decisions from federal bureaucrats back to patients and their
physicians under the aegis of the individual states. It promotes
free market choice over government mandate. The “Stalemate”
Caucus should be welcoming these major conservative reforms,
not standing in their way.

The passage of Obamacare repeal coupled with “Ryancare”
reform is the first major legislative test of the new GOP majority
in Washington, DC, and it is a test it must pass if the
conservative party is to govern successfully. It was the most
high-profile promise that candidate Trump and his congressional
colleagues made in the 2016 campaign, and if they do not keep
their promises, they will not deserve a favorable judgment by the
voters in 2018 and beyond.

The rhetorical rubber has now met the political road.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All right reserved.

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