Let’s discuss the American Health Care Act (AHCA) disaster in a little greater detail, Save Jerseyans, since there’s a lot of blame (and misinformation) going around.
First and foremost, the American Health Care Act would’ve repealed only certain parts of the Affordable Care Act
(ACA, a/k/a/ “Obamacare”) and replaced other parts of the Affordable Care Act to get around the budget reconciliation process. The real change, according to the GOP congressional leadership, was meant to come in Phase 2 and 3.
So to Republicans thinking this measure would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood, it did… for exactly one year, as it’s a part of the budget process for the year.
To all the Republicans thinking it AHCA would’ve allowed people to buy across state lines… it didn’t. That was part of Phase 3.
All AHCA was supposed to accomplish, essentially, was the elimination of the current mandate and, instead, charge a 30% fee to insurance companies if you had a pre-existing condition and didn’t keep insurance active. It would’ve also changed subsidies to tax incentives. It repealed certain parts, like essential health services. There was more, of course, but it was all essentially tinkering around the edges. Real change was supposed to happen in Phase 2 when Secretary Tom Price was going to direct Health and Humans Services to cut regulations and Phase 3 when all the ideas like co-ops and buying across state lines were supposed to come into focus.
Ironically, Phase 3 could be filibustered just like other alternative plans being offered could be and like the Paul-Sanford bill proposed. So Republicans needed to have the fight with Democrats eventually anyway, but were delaying it for some less-than-readily apparent reason. My theory? The Republican leadership wanted to take credit for repealing and replacing when, in reality, they were just tinkering. It’s all about how you sell it after all. This sounds eerily like another Republican debate we had in New Jersey. It almost sounds like the gas tax debate, only health care at the national level.
The gas tax example is instructive. I believe the gas tax was a disaster for New Jersey Republicans. Whether or not you want to claim you cut taxes on the whole more than you raised them, the optics were bad for Republicans and people feel the hurt in their wallet. All it’s accomplished is fracturing the New Jersey GOP further than it was already.
The American Health Care Act would have had a similar impact on the national GOP. Americans would now hold them responsible for the failures of the Affordable Care Act rather than the Democrats. It essentially let Democrats off the hook. Democrats thought this was a win and it was in a way. There are a lot of rumors from the inside, including from leaked e-mails, that the Affordable Care Act was designed to be an epic failure. It was likely designed to usher in a single-payer system. The Democrat modus operandi has been to break the free market system until it fails and propose a government alternative, so obviously Democrats are happy it is still in place. It’s another entitlement that the Republicans can’t do away with.
Why were we trying to tinker with that and place our Republican stamp on something designed to fail?
That’s kind of like stealing a competitor’s faulty product and sticking your logo on it. Why?
Right now, we’ve got supportive Republicans and Trump Republicans lambasting the Republican House Freedom Caucus, a tea party oriented wing within the House of Representatives, as well as the “liberty” Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Thomas Massie and Justin Amash. Instead of Republicans trying to push through a full repeal of Obamacare and blaming the Democrats for blocking it, all I’ve seen and heard are Republicans bashing other Republicans. I’ve seen plenty of analogies on social media regarding loaves of bread (“2/3 is better than demanding the whole loaf and getting nothing.”
I prefer the football analogy so let’s use it.
The American Health Care Act was like kicking a field goal through the wrong uprights and claiming you added 3 points to the board. Instead, it was really a safety and you’ve given 2 points to the other team and the ball back. Then you started yelling at your teammates when they pointed out how you were kicking it through the wrong goalpost. The problem with many Republicans is that can’t see we’re going backwards on the field so they think they’re kicking into the correct uprights.
If we’re winning, how come federal governmental spending has only been on an upward trajectory since The New Deal was passed by Franklin D. Roosevelt?
Taxes have fluctuated a bit over the years, but overall it continues to be a progressive, overly burdensome tax system administered by the IRS since the 16th Amendment passed in 1913.
We may win elections, but we are losing the war in epic fashion.
Government is bigger than ever. Regulations and laws attacking all parts of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, keep passing. Taxes stay about constant with small changes over time. We are in constant war and as James Madison said, “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
Corruption and cronyism are only getting worse and people are becoming more apathetic and hopeless about the process.
Many of our founding fathers warned us of this. “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them,” are among my favorite words spoken by the great patriot Patrick Henry.
Republicans don’t even know what winning looks like anymore. We’re averse to it. We’ve accepted the rotten premise that government exists primarily to care for and protect the people and, by doing so, we’ve lost the war.