Is a bipartisan compromise possible for remedying ObamaCare? From listening to the critics of Paul Ryan’s failure to bring forward a vote in the House, you’d think that this is a disaster for Mr. Ryan, the President, and Republicans. But wait, urges Francis Menton of the Manhattan Contrarian. Shouldn’t something as complex as a new bill trying to remedy the complexities of ObamaCare take a few tries? And more important, is there not some reform that will allow even some Democrats to consider supporting it? Here’s Mr. Menton’s take:
- This particular bill was carefully engineered to meet the tests for “reconciliation,” so that it would be immune to filibuster. A bill immune to filibuster can therefore pass the Senate with only 51 votes, not to mention not requiring any Democratic support in either house. But that constraint severely limited the scope of what could be covered in this bill. Here’s a suggestion: If the filibuster can be done away with for judicial nominations by a bare majority vote, then why not go a step further? I suggest doing away with the filibuster for any bill that seeks to repeal prior legislation. The filibuster was designed to slow the pace of new legislation that might have unintended consequences; but there’s no reason to have a filibuster when the issue is getting rid of destructive prior legislation, of which Obamacare is just the most obvious example among thousands.
- Meanwhile, without this bill, Obamacare lives for another day. But for how long? The failure to schnooker the affluent young and healthy into signing up becomes more painfully obvious with every passing day and month. Result: soaring premiums on the Obamacare “exchanges,” and an accelerating death spiral. From Time Magazine (no enemies of Obamacare) last October: “[F]or Americans who don’t get insurance through work, and who make too much money to qualify for federal subsidies, the cost of health coverage is about to soar dramatically. . . .” They report average premium increases for the 2017 year in various states as: Alabama 36%, Georgia 32%, Illinois 44%, Minnesota 50-67%, Nebraska 35%, Oklahoma 76%, Pennsylvania 33%, Tennessee 44-62%. Is it any wonder that people are angry?
- It seems to be a given that no Democrat will support any effort to redo Obamacare, whether that means full repeal, or for that matter any significant reform in the direction of reducing federal control or spending. Somehow, I can’t find any article that even mentions this subject. But without the passage of some Republican-backed reform, the law in place is the one passed by Democrats without a single Republican vote in support. Is this where Democrats want to find themselves as premiums continue to accelerate?
The bipartisan divide in the House we are currently seeing is not terribly complicated. Republicans (in FM’s view) want reforms that reduce government control and government spending. Democrats are looking for reforms that increase government control and government spending. “There is literally no basis for compromise between those two positions. … Meanwhile, isn’t the real narrative the staunch refusal of even a single Democrat to participate in any way in a reform of Obamacare that might reduce, even slightly, government control or spending?”
Read more from Francis Menton here.