March 9, 2017
How ‘Art of the Deal’ Explains the Obamacare Replacement Debate
On the surface, this is a big potential failure for the young Trump presidency. But with the Trump White House, as with the campaign, there is always a certain amount of chaos that is deliberate (though Trump, quite deliberately, never indicates how much).
In this case, the repeal/replace debacle allows the president to improve his leverage over all of the other policymakers: the Republican leadership, the conservative caucus, and the Democratic Party. (Perhaps they just don’t know it yet.)
The Republican leadership will be the most severely chastened. They had six years to devise an alternative to the so-called Affordable Care Act, and came up with a plan that, surprisingly, falls well short of full repeal, while frightening voters who worry about losing their current (albeit expensive, limited, and widely disliked) health insurance plans.
President Trump has shown them he is willing to suffer for supporting them. But he has also proved to them their plans are political non-starters.
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