How "Trumpcare" Reflects New Status Quo by Luke Perry
Republican Leaders are approaching the passage of healthcare reform very differently than President Obama, emphasizing secrecy then speed, hoping to pass the bill by the April 7 recess. The GOP never expected to have unified government. Expansive power is necessary to get big things done, but breeds deeper intraparty divisions, now on display.
Republicans are disinterested in appealing to Democrats or waiting for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to estimate the financial cost or coverage impact. CBO findings could further deter shaky party members, particularly in the Senate, where the margin of error is just three votes.
Some criticize the bill for insufficiently undoing Obamcare, like Senators Rand Paul (KY) and Ted Cruz (TX), while others contend it goes too far, like Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Lisa Murkowski (AK).
President Obama undertook lengthy public deliberations with Republicans to build the Affordable Care Act. Republicans played along, incorporating many of their ideas, then afterwards pulled support, providing a unified front in opposition until now.
President Trump is focused on privately pressing Republicans to pass his bill. His bold promises of insurance for everybody with far better coverage and lower prices have set an impossible agenda, particularly for someone who has been in Washington two months and never served in, or worked with, a legislature.
Even more remarkable, perhaps, is that Republican leaders have adopted the notion that most people should have financial support to help purchase insurance. The proposed tax credits are less ($2,000 to $4,000 annually) and different (based on age, not income and local insurance costs) than Obamacare, but this is a new and important development, irrespective of whether the bill passes or constitutes good policy.
Majority Leader McConnell urged Republicans to pass the bill even if they don’t agree with everything because the party in power is in the “outcome business now.” Failure would result in “being stuck with the status quo.”
Like it or not, the status quo of has changed, healthcare is becoming more of a right than a privilege, and parts of this bill reflect that.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Associate Professor of Government and Politics at Utica College.