President Donald Trump once admitted, “I didn’t know that health care was so complicated.” He certainly knows it now.
For the third time his “American Health Care Act,” designed to replace what is officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly disparaged as “Obamacare,” has failed to pass the U.S. Senate.
And this is because the Republican Party simply didn’t want to play the political game; during discussions on the ACA its supporters didn’t bargain in good faith with the other side (and still wouldn’t today). Yes, that bill passed with no Republican votes, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of President Barack Obama, who allowed about 100 amendments.
But this goes to the mentality of the political right, which concedes nothing and simply tries to roll over its opposition. Several senators refused to support the ACHA because, correctly, that it ended up cutting coverage; however, one, Rand Paul of Texas, opined that it didn’t go far enough in repealing the ACA.
And when you have that inability to split the difference, without which governing is impossible, that’s precisely what you end up with: Nothing. An unforeseen complication was that, despite its flaws, the ACA actually worked as intended, so even in rural areas that went for Trump folks wanted to keep it.
One of Trump’s problems as president is that he can’t stop campaigning long enough to engage in the hard work of governing. Thing is, however, his base demands that he continue to assert his authority, so he’s caught in a vise basically of his own making.
That’s less a failure of “Trumpism” than of the conservatism that defines the modern GOP. I suspect that they’ll lose a few more battles before reality sets in.