Will Republicans Pass Up an Opportunity to Dramatically Improve our Rigged Healthcare System?

Republicans ran on a pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, not a pledge to repeal and worry about a replacement later. And it certainly was not a promise to leave the law intact because the Republicans could not come to an agreement on how to proceed.

But unless cooler heads prevail, that is precisely what’s in store for the party that vowed bold and decisive change.

The irony of course is that much of this angst is self-inflicted. With Democrats bent on opposing the GOP and President Donald Trump at every turn, Republicans are quickly becoming their own worst enemies.

Unable to shake themselves from being an opposition party under President Obama, a number of Republicans seem to have forgotten that they won the last presidential election and control Congress.

Unable to shake themselves from being an opposition party under President Obama, a number of Republicans seem to have forgotten that they won the last presidential election and control Congress.

Obama is not in office anymore. He cannot be blamed for GOP failures. In about a year’s time, Republicans will need to face the voters. If they were to lose even one chamber in next year’s midterm election, it’s game over. If you think Democrat opposition is bad now, just wait until Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) or Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are back in the majority.

An alternative scenario is much rosier. Given a midterm election heavily favoring Republicans, the GOP could actually win enough seats in the Senate to achieve a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. Considering a number of Senate Democrats are up for reelection in states won by Trump, the prospect is not out of the question.

But to do that, Republicans would need to prove they can follow through on campaign promises and actually govern. Repealing and replacing Obamacare is their first big test.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare is their first big test.

We can quibble over whether taking up this contentious issue right away made sense and debate whether GOP leadership should have spent more time building a consensus among moderates and hardline conservatives. But in the end, what will matter is the narrative coming after this week’s vote on the first of many steps of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Progressives, and progressives masquerading as impartial reporters, will smile with glee at the sight of Republican collapse.

To be sure there are many things that the American Health Care Act gets wrong or does not go far enough in addressing. Avik Roy at Forbes does a good job laying this out in detail.

They should continue this as the bill works its way through the legislative and regulatory process under the purview of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

As Opportunity Lives Editor in Chief has written, Roy’s concerns merit closer consideration, as do those of others working in earnest to improve the bill. House Republican leaders have done a great job of building on the spirit of cooperation and collaboration to bring many dissenting voices in the process. They should continue this as the bill works its way through the legislative and regulatory process under the purview of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Of course, there are those that want this bill to die a quick death. For progressives, it’s simple: run out the clock, win back the White House and push for a socialistic single-payer system.

For Republican purists who have forgotten Ronald Reagan’s quip that a person that agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and not a traitor, the window to repeal and replace one of the most consequential pieces of progressive legislation is quickly closing. Left untouched, Obamacare will become impossible to untangle from the economy and people’s lives.

It would be a great shame if Republicans miss this opportunity by trying to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter: @IzzyOrtega.