I’m Glad ACA Repeal Failed, but I’m Angry about It Too

Republicans won three elections on an argument they never took seriously.

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Media Outlet: Vox

Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox's Polyarchy about why Republicans' failure to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is infuriating:

Despite years to prepare, repeal supporters did none of that work. Options were suddenly discovered and thrown into the bill at the last minute, with unpredictable costs and trade-offs. And while President Trump’s ineptitude, coupled with his vacuous promise to provide better, cheaper health plans that would cover everyone, complicated matters, it’s likely that even if Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio occupied the White House, the result would be the same.

That’s because long before they failed to develop an alternative to the ACA, it had become apparent that Republicans lacked a coherent argument about what was wrong with the law. In the early years, they talked about the individual mandate a lot, as a potent symbol of state control over the individual, but after the Supreme Court upheld the mandate, they lost interest in that argument. They denounced it as a “one size fits all” solution, but that’s actually unspecific and deceptive — what “size” would work better? More recently, and with impressive talking point discipline, they decried it in technocratic terms — it wasn’t working because premiums had soared in some states, and there was only one insurer in many counties. Those are real issues, but they are a long way from treating the ACA as the EZ-Pass Lane on the Road to Serfdom.

Author:

Mark Schmitt is director of the program on Political Reform at New America.