The Great Dealmaker Fails to Close
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 77
The Art of Failure: The House Republican majority could not muster a majority among its own members to repeal and replace Obamacare as promised in last year’s election campaign. President Trump, who campaigned as the master deal maker, fell flat on his first major deal as a politician.
House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor because he knew his own party was going to reject it and he needed to avoid the embarrassment.
Trump said he’s going to leave Obamacare as it is and let it “explode” on its own, even though the Congressional Budget Office says that, although there’s trouble in some states, it is mostly stable and functioning.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land.” He said, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to replace this law.”
Amazingly, Trump and Ryan praised each other for their efforts, even though both failed bigly, as Trump might say. Trump described it as “a learning experience” and blamed House Democrats for not voting for the bill. Trump called reporter Maggie Haberman at the NY Times and told her, “So when you get zero from the other side — they let us down because they’re hurting the people. The good news is they now own health care, they now own Obamacare.”
The American Healthcare Act, as the Republicans titled it, died because it was a quilt of political ideology rather than a law specifically designed to improve health insurance. The Republicans favored “freedom” and choice over the pooled and shared risk that is the foundation of any insurance. People whose houses don’t burn share the risk and cost with those who lose everything.
One of the killers was that the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus forced the president to strip the bill of the 10 Obamacare essentials that must be part of any health insurance policy: maternity care, mental health, hospitalization, and prescriptions among them. That was too much for a lot of moderates, and for Republican healthcare reform.
More from 1600: The Trump administration has issued a permit for building the embattled Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and North Dakota to the Gulf Coast. It’s a reversal of the Obama decision not to build it. That won’t necessarily get it built. With oil prices so low, it might not be worth it.
The Russia House: Three former Trump campaign associates, including campaign manager Paul Manafort, have volunteered to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees investigating Russian efforts to sway the election and the connection of Trump campaign associates to Russian figures. Manafort had business ties to the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine and a Russian billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Permawar: The Pentagon is investigating reports that a US airstrike in West Mosul, Iraq, killed as many as 200 civilians. Reporters counted at least 50 bodies yesterday. There are always more than you can see.
Football: Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier has been found guilty of misdemeanor child endangerment in covering up the child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is serving up to 60 years in prison. Spanier, who was found not guilty of two felonies, faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Bizarre: Eleven people in their 20s slaughtered a sheep at the gates of the Auschwitz death camp then stripped naked and chained themselves together. They had draped a banner with the word “Love” on the fence. German authorities are still trying to figure out what was the point.