You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Opinion: On healthcare, GOP not ready for compromise


U.S. Sen. David Perdue said a very odd thing this week. He told the AJC’s Greg Bluestein that Republicans will have to compromise with Democrats if they hope to address challenges in the nation’s health-care system.

Compromise? With Democrats? On health care?

That’s pretty amazing, given that so far, Republicans can’t bring themselves to compromise even with their fellow Republicans. But as Perdue accurately pointed out, referring to the aborted House effort to repeal Obamacare, “How’d the other direction work out? It didn’t work out very well when we pretty much ignored them.”

Even President Trump is making similar noises, although he does so in typical Trumpian style. In an interview with Fox Business News, Trump claimed that his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is going great, really great, so great you wouldn’t believe how great it’s going.

“I think we’re doing very well on health care,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo, who nodded along as if she believed it. “It’s been very much misreported that we failed with health care. We haven’t failed, we’re negotiating and we continue to negotiate and we will save perhaps $900 billion…. We’re going to have great health care.”

But in a later interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump took another course entirely. He threatened to bring the whole insurance apparatus crashing down at once, leaving millions without coverage, unless Democrats agree to surrender to stop him.

“What should be happening is [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer should be calling me up and begging me to help him save Obamacare,” Trump said. “That’s what should happen. He should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare, along with Nancy Pelosi.”

“The longer I’m behind this desk and you have Obamacare, the more I would own it. Right now, we don’t own it at all.”

Ah, but Republicans do own it. They own it all. GOP efforts to undermine the law and dissuade insurance companies from participating have already been well documented. Their incompetence at cobbling together a repeal-and-replace bill capable of clearing the first, very low hurdle, the House of Representatives, has been noted even by those Americans who generally don’t read past the latest Kardashian scandal.

In short, Republicans begged voters for years to give them the power to “fix” health care, and they now have that power. They control the House, the Senate, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the law. But they have yet to fully grasp that near-total power comes with near-total responsibility.

So yes, in the end this will require significant compromise, but Republicans are nowhere near accepting the terms of what that compromise will be. No bill that strips health insurance from a significant number of Americans is going to become law, especially not with Democratic support. No bill that slashes $900 billion out of Medicaid assistance for the poor, the disabled and those in nursing homes so that wealthy investors can enjoy $900 billion in tax cuts is going to become law, especially not with Democratic support.

So while Perdue, Trump and their fellow Republicans may finally be willing to utter the word “compromise,” they are a long, long way from accepting what it will really mean. They face a lot more political pain, a lot more angry voters, a lot more legislative failure, before they understand their situation. They may even have to lose the House.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

New targets needed for immigration enforcement

We are seeing deeper divides in the streets, in protests which are getting more filled with clashes, hate and violence. Much of the division seems to involve skin color, ethnicity and how “American” they are; who is really “American,” and who is allowed to be an “American.”  Over the last decade, the issue of...
Opinion: Highlights (i.e., lowlights) of CBO health analysis
Opinion: Highlights (i.e., lowlights) of CBO health analysis

(AP) The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation have released their analysis of the Senate GOP’s health-care proposal.
Revered APS principal Stephanie Johnson leaves Maynard Jackson High for state post
Revered APS principal Stephanie Johnson leaves Maynard Jackson High for state post

Over the years, the state Department of Education has either courted or poached – depending on your perspective – some key folks from metro Atlanta school systems. Former state school chief John Barge and current office holder Richard Woods, both from outside the metro hub, reached a bit farther and brought in some rural Georgia educators...
Opinion: A win for religious liberty at the U.S. Supreme Court
Opinion: A win for religious liberty at the U.S. Supreme Court

The empty playground at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., shown in January 2016. (AP file photo) Monday was a busy day for court rulings, and not only in Georgia.
Readers Write: June 27

With voting also comes responsibility The recent election shows how powerful our vote can be. Our vote is the one thing that candidates strive for and hope to achieve. They court us and almost everything they do during the campaign is to get our vote. The mere thought of losing our vote makes candidates tremble. The power of our vote that was so hard-won...
More Stories