The US House of Representation under Republican Congress finally managed to pass the infamous American Health Care Act, which seeks to replace key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare. To convince reluctant House members to vote for a bill they did not actually support, House leadership used a combination of pressure tactics, concessions to key holdouts, and irrelevant promises of major changes in the Senate version. They essentially tweaked the previously rejected AHCA version with politically-motivated alternations without addressing the actual criticism of the original analysis and solving the cost issue of healthcare.
Republicans did add provisions for a grossly underfunded state-sponsored “high-risk pools” that would allegedly help cover the added expenses of individuals with preconditions, but this will simply force government to subsidize the insurance of those with preconditions, which is basically what Medicare does for costly old people, thereby allowing insurance companies to pocket the extra profits that should be used to cover the care of sick people, i.e. the market solution. In other words, Republican lawmakers made a bad piece of legislation even worse by negating the very purpose of health insurance. It is a perfect example of how government should not operate and how legislation should not be crafted.
The problem with the House passage of the AHCA, which would assuredly receive the rubber-stamp approval of President Donald Trump, who appears more interested in reducing government mandates and providing universal health care than the Republican initiative, is that it circumvented actual debate. Given the massive dissent and weak support among Republicans, in addition to the total lack of support from Democrats, based on substance, the legislative process should have forced a reconciliation within the House, which would have resulted in a completely different piece of legislation than what was passed.
Unfortunately, opposition fueled politics on both sides of the aisle has short-circuited the legislative process. If President Donald Trump and Republican House leaders wanted to work with House Democrats on followup reforms to the Affordable Care Act, they would have pursued targeted legislation focusing on a narrow set of issues that a critical number of Democrats and Republicans could support. Democrats have always been the responsible Party of government while they never enjoyed the level of control Republicans have over their members. Individual Democrats can, therefore, always be persuaded to break rank.
That said, Democrats have pledged to intensify the obstructionism Republicans used against President Obama. Democrats see opposition to the Trump Administration and the GOP Congress as a means of safeguarding good government, so good legislation can convince Democrats to support Trump and Republican initiatives. While the Democratic leadership might not be willing to work with the Republican leadership, it is imperative to recognize that individual Democrats can be won over by Republicans. This is actually how the legislative process is supposed to work. Sadly, the Republicans Party and Democratic Party have essentially become permanent voting blocks in Congress with party members rarely joining forces.
Worse yet, Party members are rarely given the opportunity to pursue their own bipartisan legislation efforts against the wish of Party leadership, which controls the legislative agenda. Legislators are voted into office to represent the interests of their constituents in national policies. They are not sent to Washington to give their Party another vote. Today, the GOP struggles with revolt, but the loudest voices are those pulling Republicans away from compromise with Democrats. If there is to be proper governance and representation of the American People, there must be a revolution from those within both Parties who are willing to build balanced legislation that actually solves problems.
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