In his Oval Office remarks on the evening of March 24—the day Trumpcare bit the dust—master logician Donald Trump blamed his party’s failure to govern on … the Democrats!
Moving on from that elevated beginning, Trump went on predict the implosion of Obamacare and let us in on how much delight he will take in blaming said allegedly forthcoming implosion on—take three guesses—the Democrats!
These developments, he confidently predicted, will force the evil, cowardly Democrats to crawl into the Oval Office, praise his fine new suit of clothes, lick his feet, and beg to be allowed to cooperate in fixing the imploding Obamacare legislative project.
It was an odious invitation. If anyone is inclined to accept it, they will need to bear in mind that he who would sup with the devil should bring a long spoon.
Should Democrats give it a whirl anyway? And how do they answer the underlying questions: Is Obamacare “imploding” or isn’t it? (Much of the discussion of that question has a superficially partisan ‘tis/t’ain’t/’tis/t’ain’t quality about it; where does the truth really lie?) Insofar as there are real problems with Obamacare, not just partisan bullshit, how would reasonable people go about fixing the problems? And is there an icecube’s chance in hell that at least some Republicans could be persuaded to work with Democrats to find real solutions? (This would require, among other things, that Paul Ryan invite the “Freedom Caucus” to kiss is ass. After this evening, Ryan might welcome the opportunity to make such a declaration.)
I intend to inform myself better on these matters and, in future posts, to share the gist of what I think I have learned. My working hypotheses are that
- Yes, the mandate was relatively weak to begin with; the Trump Administration has taken steps to make it even weaker; and that’s a problem.
- Some people who buy insurance on the exchanges really do pay too much in premiums and, having made their unduly high payments, suffer from high deductible which they have trouble paying, if they become sick, because they paid too much for insurance to begin with. It’s a problem that could be addressed by increasing subsidies, taking steps to hold down payments to providers, and doing everything possible to make sure that insurance markets have enough competitors to make them “workably competitive,” as the microeconomists would say.
I tend to think the Democrats should make, and should be seen to be making, a good faith attempt to work with whoever is willing to work with them on these problems.