We Need Some ‘Art of the Deal’ On Obamacare Replacement, Mr. President

Trump must settle the dispute between the more liberal and more conservative wings of the GOP in the Senate, or this is going to be an epic disaster.

Now would be a great time for President Trump to show us all his skills in the art of the deal. Finally, the House of Representatives has released its recommendations, and it’s going to take a dealmaker to herd these legislative cats.

The New York Times reported that four GOP senators: Portman, Capito, Gardner, and Murkowski (Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado and Alaska, respectively) have lodged their complaint against the draft–that it’s not liberal enough. And Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz have problems that it’s too liberal.

Even if the bill passes the house as drafted, it’s going to die in the Senate, or become some monstrous, unrecognizable pile of garbage that will resemble Obamacare more than the original. Because if the GOP can’t get this together, the Democrats will be more than willing to make a deal with Trump.

The most frightening statement I read–it literally made me shudder–came from Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, quoted by Roll Call.

“I think it’ll all come together in the end,” Hatch said, before suggesting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the key to the entire process. “We have a perfect leader who knows how to do that.”

Sen. Hatch, are you kidding me? The prince of pacification; he who blinks first like a boss; the mikado of milquetoast; the khan of knuckling under; McConnell will do whatever is necessary to ensure something passes the Senate. By the time it gets back to the House, the whole effort will probably collapse.

That is, if the president allows it to collapse. But what we know of Trump is that he cares not for such ephemera as political parties or elections of people not named Donald Trump. We also know that Trump leans north of liberal on health care. As in Canada.

Yielding to something called Trumpcare may end up giving the Democrats everything they’ve ever dreamed of.

Therefore, we, the sane, conservative people who don’t own printing presses that produce $100 bills, ask nicely. Would President Trump kindly, and without sticking his whole fist into the pie, show some small morsel of message discipline, leadership, and dealmaking ability in getting the actual plan for Obamacare’s replacement negotiated in the legislative branch?

A few months ago, my advice to Congress was to take the lead on Obamacare. They’ve done it. But like the Atlanta Falcons, there’s still plenty of time to screw it up. (I’m a Pats fan, but I heard an old Falcons supporter lament: When I die, I want six Falcons to be my pall bearers. I just want them to let me down one more time. This is how I feel about the Senate GOP.)

By “actual” plan I mean not the applause lines in a well-written teleprompter speech, but the real plan, that we will call “law” when it passes. This is not the time for letting detail people handle all the details. Trump must settle the dispute between the more liberal and more conservative wings of the GOP in the Senate, or this is going to be an epic disaster.

And if it’s an epic disaster, so go GOP elections in 2018.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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