Throw Them An Anvil, Not A Lifeline

Good for Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (boldface mine):

The emerging GOP plan to repeal Obamacare on a delayed schedule — and then maybe kinda sorta replace it later — has raised a big question: Will Democrats help Republicans pass a replacement that is far less generous and comprehensive than the health law is, allowing Republicans an escape from the political fallout from repeal?

In an interview with me, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer answered this question with a resounding No. Under no circumstances, he vowed, would Democrats throw Republicans such a political lifeline.

“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer said of the Senate Democratic caucus. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs.”

…But whenever repeal does kick in, Republicans have insisted, they will have some kind of replacement ready. And here’s where Democrats come in. Republicans appear to be calculating that the looming prospect of millions losing insurance will force Dems to cooperate with them to pass a replacement that covers far fewer people and offers less in consumer protection than the ACA does. (They may need Dems to pass a replacement, because some conservatives may not vote for anything that spends and regulates to expand coverage.) But if Democrats do hold the line against anything far short of the ACA, they may be able to leverage Republicans into replacing it with something that is not nearly as regressive as the GOP replacement might otherwise have been.

This is what Schumer is now vowing to do. Asked directly if Democrats would refuse to support anything that falls significantly short of the ACA in terms of expanding social welfare, Schumer said: “The odds, after they repeal without any replacement, of us sitting at the table to do something that will chop one arm off instead of two is very small.”

“They’re giving us tremendous leverage,” Schumer insisted.

Time, of course, will tell whether Democrats make good on this vow. But it’s worth noting another important factor here: If Republicans do opt for repeal-and-delay, it could make a big mess very quickly, well in advance of any vote on a replacement, which could make the politics of this even worse for them….

Schumer said that in this scenario, Democrats would not toss Republicans a lifeline. “They broke it, they own it,” Schumer said. “All the problems in the health care system that they blamed on Obamacare will now be in their laps. We’re going to make sure that we say things would have been a lot better, had they been thoughtful and careful and worked with us to fix Obamacare.”

Republicans have had years to invent a viable alternative to the ACA (“Obamacare”). They haven’t done so because Fox News and Alex Jones’ rantings aren’t a workable policy (governing is hard!). After years of essentially being shit-flinging monkeys, Republicans are going to have to govern. It’s clear their slavering Uruk-hai base is completely unaware of what that entails–or what their dream ‘policies’ mean.

Consider this the downside of Palinism–though the policy failures are as much a feature as a bug. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live with this crap.

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3 Responses to Throw Them An Anvil, Not A Lifeline

  1. John Danley says:

    Salutogenesis ain’t nearly as much fun as foot-draggin’ schadenfreude.

  2. starskeptic says:

    Democrats always talk a good game…

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