Friday, March 24, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Aftermath Of Failed Legislation

We now face two major failures of healthcare insurance

First, we have the seven year-old Affordable Care Act
usually known as Obamacare. It was rammed through the
Congress, and was unpopular from day one. It precipitated
major electoral defeats for its sponsoring party, the
Democrats, in 2010, 2014 and 2016. Now in full effect, it has
failed in its purpose of providing healthcare insurance for
everyone (millions still don’t have coverage) and its financial
costs are imploding so fast that it will likely soon be unable to
function adequately for the millions it does cover. It is further
discouraging critical numbers of students from even entering
medical school, and it is driving the quality of medical care
down to unacceptable levels. It is a gross failure.

Second, the political party and its elected representatives
voted into power for the expressed purpose of repealing
Obamacare and replacing it with a better plan, the
Republicans, have tied themselves up into hopeless stalemate
by its own factions.

As much as I have stated my admiration for Paul Ryan in the
past, some of this failure has to be laid to his door. He insisted
on the Obamacare repeal and replacement as a first priority,
but did not write an adequate form of new legislation that would
win the votes of even a necessary number of his own caucus
which holds a large 40-vote majority.

President Trump, unfamiliar with how the Congress works, was
persuaded by the U.S. house leadership to make Obamacare the
first legislative priority, even though his (and their) tax reform
campaign promise had more support, and should have been the
first priority while, behind the scenes, a more acceptable
replacement to Obamacare could have been fashioned and
negotiated. To his credit, Mr. Trump went “all in” with Mr. Ryan
and his house leadership colleagues. The failure of the Ryan
plan was not his, but Mr Ryan’s --- brought about by the so-called
Freedom Caucus.

This is not the end of the world, but it could be the beginning of
the end of the “permanent” Republican majority of the U.S. house.

What happens now? First and foremost, the U.S. house and senate
must promptly tackle another major campaign promise, probably
tax reform, and deliver the legislation to the president’s desk for

Another failure in Congress, and it would be impossible to avoid
the conclusion that both major political parties are incapable of
doing the people’s, and the voter’s, business.

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

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