Conservatives have prevailed, it would seem, and convinced both the White House and House leaders to go along with amendments that would move Obamacare closer to repeal. But let’s cut the crap and the spin — this is not repeal, it does not deliver on long held promises, but this appears to be the best that they can do.
Liberal Republicans, like Charlie Dent, who played up voting for the 2015 repeal effort and voting to override President Obama’s veto, now pretends he never did that. He and a large number of other Republicans want to keep Obamacare in place.
The House Freedom Caucus, despite the barbs, jeers, and attacks from the Wall Street Journal editorial page to a host of establishment oriented pundits to the President himself, held their ground and demanded the legislation move right. They should be commended.
They’re going to vote for this now. I still think they should just leave it all alone. The moment they vote for this plan, which will not repeal Obamacare or really even fix it, they are going to own every bit of it. The media and Democrats will attack them for every pre-existing flaw in Obamacare that is not going to get fixed by this legislation.
But the GOP has convinced itself to self-immolate and far be it for me to try to throw water on the match. They will set themselves on fire and probably get wiped out next year. But they’ll look themselves in the mirror and convince themselves they did their best to slay the Obamacare dragon. When the base does not show up for them next year, this will be the reason. But they’ll excuse it all away as they have every defeat since 2006. Conservatives will no doubt get the blame again.
The House Freedom Caucus should be commended. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, and the rest held their ground, often with their home state colleagues attacking them in local press back home. But they did not budge. They demanded improvements in the legislation. They demanded a shift to the right in the legislation. And they got it. They improved the bill.
Let’s just not pretend this is no longer a crap sandwich. It still is. But the flavor is improved. No side ever gets everything they want. Conservatives are not going to get repeal. But liberals will have to accept state experimentation instead of a one size fits all national healthcare structure.
Consider this a “win” because it isn’t going to get any better than this.