MIA: A Salient White House Policy Predicate for Repealing Obamacare
We’ve heard ad infinitum from President Trump that Obamacare is a “disaster,” a “loser,” and “a disgrace.” But what do Americans really know about the substantive policy rationale behind the White House push to repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Not much – and the little they do know has been the result of a ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ shooting gallery from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his colleagues, who have successfully defined the terms of debate.
For months — and especially over the past several weeks — we’ve heard millions of Americans will lose health insurance, pre-existing conditions will no longer be covered, Medicaid will be gutted, hospital care will be compromised, and seniors in rural nursing homes face displacement.
The President has been stellar in defining a political predicate for the GOP health reform effort: ending Obamacare. But the White House has been MIA in helping to articulate the policy predicate behind proposed GOP reforms, and in leading the subsequent public relations charge essential to generating popular support.
It was the White House that decided to make Obamacare repeal its preeminent, first out-of-the box policy push when the President’s political capital was at its peak.
Instead, the back and forth about Russia, the FBI, James Comey and the President’s insistence on using Twitter as his primary communications vehicle has resulted in a self-inflicted messaging morass, and news cycle to news cycle confusion.
Moreover, until the President’s peripatetic, unfocused communications style changes, he will indeed continue to find some success in the day to day political skirmishes he so relishes. But the big, substantive policy battles he and the GOP must win will continue to fall short.
For the time being, however, the sooner the health reform discussion fades from the headlines, the better off the GOP will be moving forward.
One cannot help but get the feeling Mitch McConnell concurs — and wants to have a quick Senate vote, live with the results, and use the 4th of July recess as a buffer for a policy reset towards tax reform.