• On Health Care, Bipartisan Dishonesty Is the Problem

    From Ubiquitous@21:1/5 to All on Sun Jul 23 00:39:19 2017
    XPost: alt.tv.pol-incorrect, alt.politics.usa, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

    The story of health-care policy this week, this month, and for the
    last decade (at least) has been a tale of partisan folly. But fear
    not, this isn’t another earnest pundit’s lament for the vital center
    to emerge, phoenix-like, to form a governing coalition of moderates
    in both parties. That’s not my bag.

    After all, I have always argued that bipartisanship is overrated.

    Bipartisan support often means unthinking support (as the Founders
    could have told you). Partisans may be annoying from time to time,
    but they also can be relied upon to point out the shortcomings of
    what the other side is doing. When partisan criticism is missing, it
    might be a sign that politicians in both parties are helping
    themselves, not the country. Or, it might mean they’re pandering to
    the passions of the public and press rather than doing the hard work
    of thinking things through.

    So you’ll get no warm and fuzzy pleading for moderates to scrub
    clean the word “compromise” so that it’s no longer a dirty word in
    Washington. Others can make the case for that. And besides, that
    argument misses the essence of this spectacular failure. Honest
    partisanship isn’t the problem, bipartisan dishonesty is.

    Both parties have become defined by their lies and their refusal to
    accept reality. It’s a problem bigger than health care, but health
    care is probably the best illustration of it.

    For seven years Republicans campaigned to repeal Obamacare. We now
    know that for many of those politicians, that pledge was a sales
    pitch that expired after the sale — i.e., the election — was final.

    But before liberal readers pull a muscle nodding their heads: The
    Democrats aren’t any better. Obamacare itself was lied into passage.
    “You can keep your plan!” “You can keep your doctor!” “Your premiums
    won’t go up!” These were lies. If those promises were remotely true,
    Obamacare wouldn’t be the mess it is.

    But these aren’t even the lies I have in mind.

    The Republican “repeal and replace” bills debated for the last six
    months did not in fact repeal Obamacare. They kept most of its
    regulations intact — particularly the popular ones. The GOP did seek
    to repeal and reform the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, but
    that’s not the same thing as repealing Obamacare.

    Yet Republicans insisted it was a repeal because they wanted to
    claim that they fulfilled their repeal pledge. Actually fulfilling
    the substance of the pledge was a low-order priority. Heroically
    winning the talking point: This was their brass ring.

    So, too, for the White House. Donald Trump just wanted a win. He has
    made it abundantly clear that he would sign anything the Republicans
    sent him — up to and possibly including the head of Alfredo Garcia
    if someone had written “Obamacare: Repealed” on the poor chap’s
    forehead. Trump has shown zero preference for any specific policy or
    approach during these debates. He just wants the bragging rights.

    And that is the one thing Democrats are most determined to deny him.
    The Democrats know that Obamacare has been an albatross for their
    party. They often acknowledge, through gritted teeth, that the law
    needs a substantial overhaul.

    More important, they also know that the GOP wasn’t pushing an actual
    repeal. But they couldn’t tolerate for a moment the idea that the
    Republicans would get to claim it was repeal. So the one thing both
    sides could agree upon was that this was a zero-sum war over
    repealing Obamacare — when it wasn’t.

    This was all about bogus gasconade and rodomontade for Republicans
    and insecure rhetorical wagon-circling around Barack Obama’s
    “legacy” for Democrats. If Trump and the GOP agreed to abandon
    “repeal,” as Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer wants, one can
    only wonder how much replacing of Obamacare Schumer would allow the
    GOP to get away with.

    Likewise, if Democrats could somehow give Republicans the ability to
    say they repealed Obamacare, many Republican senators — and
    certainly Trump — would probably be happy to leave the bulk of it

    It is this fact that makes the polarized, tribal climate in
    Washington so frustrating. I like partisan fights when those fights
    are about something real. The Medicaid fight was at least about
    something real. But most of this nonsense is a battle of liars
    trying to protect past lies in the hope of being able to make new
    lies seem just plausible enough for the liars to keep repeating

    Dems & the media want Trump to be more like Obama, but then he'd
    have to audit liberals & wire tap reporters' phones.

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