Thursday, July 27, 2017

Killing Obamacare Softly

Thomas B. Edsall JULY 27, 2017, NYT

Unable — at least so far — to kill the Affordable Care Act outright, the Trump administration has conducted a sustained war of attrition designed to inflict fatal damage on Obamacare.

This war, often operating below the radar, entails the use of a quintessentially conservative strategy, and the cooperation of Congressional Republicans. In a way, it’s pretty simple: You cut the budget, impose debilitating regulations, track the subsequent missteps and then attack the program as a failure.

The political opportunism behind the Republicans’ determination to undo legislation that makes federally financed health care more broadly available has deep roots.

“Democratic legislation,” the conservative strategist Bill Kristol argued after President Bill Clinton proposed his health care plan in 1993, poses “a serious political threat to the Republican Party.”

If enacted, Kristol continued,
it will relegitimize middle-class dependence for “security” on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
Sound familiar? The Kristol memo captures the reasoning and the philosophy behind the many covert (and overt) Republican attempts to eviscerate Obamacare.

(More here.)

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