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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Thomas Gallatin / Jul. 18, 2017

GOP Senators Fail to Agree on ObamaCare Repeal

As more Republicans defect, McConnell pulls the plan and declares failure. All hope isn’t lost, but it sure is dim.

As two more Senate Republicans announced opposition to the fledgling GOP health care plan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulled the plug, stating, “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of ObamaCare will not be successful.” Once again, Republicans have fallen into the trap of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. So what has been learned, and what are the possible future options?

  • Republicans struggle mightily to be team players. Unlike Democrats, whose collectivist instincts cause them to regularly abandon any personal convictions and principles for party loyalty, Republicans’ bent toward individualism often proves to thwart party unity.

  • There are myriad factors at play here — behind-the-scenes dealing and political favors or calculations. Politics in Washington is always much more than meets the eye.

  • That leads to the next point: follow the money. While politicians often explain their decisions as standing for high-minded principles, more often than not special interest groups are the overriding motivation. And don’t forget the constant concern over re-election. Then there’s the fact that health care accounts for roughly one-sixth of the economy. There’s a lot of money involved.

  • McConnell has now called for a straight-up repeal vote on ObamaCare, which at face value would be even more difficult to pass. So what’s the strategy? McConnell wants to get all Republicans on record to expose most clearly those who are unwilling to repeal the collapsing law — especially the moderates who benefited politically from repeal when it couldn’t actually be done but are now showing their true colors. Here’s looking at you, Susan Collins.

  • And while ObamaCare is indeed collapsing, that doesn’t mean it goes away. All the regulations and mandates that are negatively impacting every single American will remain in place, continuing to act as a weight dragging down the economy and costing billions in taxes and higher premiums.

  • Finally, by not repealing and replacing ObamaCare, Republicans have significantly hindered Donald Trump’s ability to move aggressively forward in tackling the economy and taxes. Trump has done much thus far in reforming Washington via enacting a massive deregulation campaign, but he needs Congress to work toward permanent change. Much of that change depends first on repealing ObamaCare.

It is indeed frustrating to see how ill-prepared Republicans were to take over leadership. As Pat Toomey (R-PA) alluded to recently, Republicans assumed that Hillary Clinton would win and were simply not prepared to enact a conservative agenda. They had better start working aggressively toward one soon, or they won’t be in leadership much longer.

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