OK, this one will be a breeze, for a change.
Yesterday, Republican congressman and Freedom Caucuser David Brat said "there is a [legislative] package in there that is a win-win." Fellow Freedom Caucus member Raúl Labrador predicted that "we will have a [splendid] product that will unify the conference." House Republican Whip Steve Scalise reflected that "we’re closer today [to passing this splendid legislation] … than we’ve ever been before." And last night, at a White House reception for Republican and Democratic senators, the president prophesied that "We are all going to make a deal" on this legislation, because this is "such an easy one."
And just what legislation were these Republican pols contemplating; what were they envisioning as so easy and forecasting great success for? Brace.
The repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
I kid you not, though they do. The con continues.
"Under extreme pressure from conservative activists, House Republican leaders and the White House have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act," reports the NYT in — somehow — giggleless wording. Paul Ryan, of course, got in on the con at his daily press conference, although shockingly he "declined to say what might be in the next version of the Republicans’ repeal bill, nor would he sketch any schedule for action."
Nevertheless, the GOP base is not to worry. The next repeal-replacement bill will be a win-win, it'll be splendid, it'll be unifying, and it'll be easy.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "asked members of her caucus to suggest ways of improving the Affordable Care Act." And that is rather easy. All they need to do is distribute copies of journalist and healthcare maven Steven Brill's Washington Post op-ed, "How Trump can make Obamacare work without changing the law."
The trick, notes Brill, is that "improving" the law lies in simply enforcing the law, such as Section 1402, which "lays out a set of formulas that, in essence, requires insurance companies to waive some of the deductibles and other co-payments for lower-income families." This provision is legally jammed up, though, because of a House Republican lawsuit, which House Republicans could drop.
Or, there's the ACA's Section 1342, which "promised to reimburse insurers that experienced extraordinary losses in the early years of the exchanges." But that, too, is going unenforced: It was "derailed by a provision that Sen. Marco Rubio slipped into a broader spending bill in 2015."
So there is a splendid, easy win-win after all; its problem is that it lacks something in the GOP-unifying department. But again, not to worry. The splendor of an alternative, conservative repeal-and-replacement bill is just around the corner — and for now, we can all enjoy the magnificent con of it all.