Saturday, March 11, 2017

Is "Repeal & Replace" A Huge Gift For Democratic Party ?

(Cartoon image is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.)

The Republicans in Congress have been screaming for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for years now, and claiming that they could replace it with a better plan. The problem, of course, is that they could not agree on any plan to replace Obamacare even though they had years to come up with one. It was really just a bit of political theater designed to keep their base happy, because they never expected to be in a position to actually accomplish repeal.

But they (and everyone else) got a surprise last November when Trump won the White House. Now they control the White House and Congress, and their base is demanding they do what they had been promising for years -- repeal Obamacare. So, after a few months of party infighting, the Republican leadership came up with a plan. It's not a good plan, and would result in at least 15 to 20 million Americans losing the health insurance they had gained through Obamacare (while doing nothing to control medical or insurance costs).

While this "plan" would be good for rich people (giving them a big tax break), it would not be good for most Americans -- and that includes Trump voters. Those benefitting from the repeal composed only 10% of Trump voters, while half of Trump voters were white voters without a college degree (the group that would be hit the hardest by a repeal). Are these people going to remain loyal to Trump (and the Republicans) after they lose their health insurance? Probably not, since that would put their families at risk.

I'm beginning to think the Republican's "repeal and replace plan" may be the biggest gift the Democratic Party has received since the Great Depression. And it really doesn't matter whether the plan is passed or defeated.

Nothing can bring voters to the polls as fast as a danger to their families -- and that's exactly what this plan represents. If the plan is passed, millions of angry voters will show up at the polls -- and they'll want to take that anger out on those who took their insurance away from them.

If the plan is not passed (and there's a decent chance it won't be passed), then a different set of angry voters will be ready to take their anger out on the Republicans -- the teabaggers in their party. They'll be ready to kick the incumbent Republicans out of office, and replace them with even more extreme right-wingers (making the party unpalatable to most Americans. Or they could even split off and form their own political party (splitting the conservative vote, and electing Democrats even in red districts).

The Republicans have put themselves between a rock and a hard place, and they don't have a clue as to how to fix that. I don't want Obamacare to be repealed, but whether it is or not, I am starting to enjoy the dilemma the Republicans have created for themselves -- and I am thankful for their "gift".

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