After Monday night’s final failure of the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell fake plan to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump came out with a startling position.
If he means it, and backs up those words with both his veto pen and the bully pulpit, then he’s found the right idea for America. Process matters, and here’s why “repeal, then replace” is the right process for all of us hurt by Obamacare.
Back when the House first took on Obamacare repeal, under the constraints set by Paul Ryan, Donald Trump attacked conservatives and backed Ryan’s fake repeal:
The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
But last night, after that poorly-conceived process came to a failed conclusion, he reversed himself and supported the very process favored by the House Freedom Caucus he previously despised:
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
The truth is, he’s now supporting the right idea. If he backs it to the hilt, complete with a veto threat on all other ideas, and an insistence on shutting down the government if Democrats block him, then he can get it done. And it would be great.
Some conservatives are leery about the concept of replacing Obamacare, because we don’t want to make our own version of a bad idea. However since the PPACA came into effect, the entire country has by force of law been required to adapt to that structure. We can’t just remove it and go on our merry way. We need to set up a new legal framework going forward.
Yes, it’s true that cowardly members of Congress (and of the executive branch) will try to slip in pieces of Obamacare. But under the Ryan/McConnell/Trump “Repeal AND Replace” process, the way you keep a part of Obamacare is to do nothing at all, and it will remain in law. However under the Freedom Caucus “Repeal THEN Replace” process, every provision of Obamacare you want to keep, you have to introduce and vote for.
By repealing the whole thing, all at once, and then passing a new insurance bill, we force people to stand up and defend the things they want to support. A partial repeal allows bad ideas to slip through by (intentional) omission, but repeal-then-replace does not.
Democrats routinely get what they want despite having fewer than 60 votes. They do this by forcing Republicans to shut down the government to get their way, and then browbeating the most cowardly members into caving. Donald Trump is supposed to be different. He’s supposed to be a fighter.
If Donald Trump insists on Obamacare Repeal or Government Shutdown, and flies to Mar-a-Lago on day one of the shutdown, then what are the Democrats going to do? Show more photos of him playing golf while they wave signs? Is anyone going to care? Republicans spent years showing photos of Barack Obama playing golf and nobody cared.
If Trump fights for “repeal, then replace,” he’s going to make me eat some words. Because it would be one of the greatest stands for conservative policy we’ve seen in DC in a long time.