Donald Trump will finally be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday. He will take over a federal government in which the Republicans are in control of all the elected positions for the first time in a decade. While the left continues its collective spasm at the idea of a Trump Presidency, the mood on this side of aisle ranges from overflowing joy to outright pessimism, with many being cautiously optimistic.
With both houses of Congress under Republican control, repealing Obamacare should be a repetitively straightforward task, even for congressional Republicans. They ran on repealing Obamacare in 2010 and voters rewarded them the House. They did not act on that promise, insisting they need control of the Senate and in 2014 voters installed a Republican majority in the Senate. Still, they did not follow through insisting they could not repeal Obama’s signature legislative achievement while Obama was still President. Now they control over all the elected parts of the federal government, so no excuses.
Despite having over six years of time to prepare for this moment, Republicans are tripping over themselves over how to repeal the law. This has caused some congressional Republicans to start banging the pots and pans. Justin Amash took to Twitter to lash out at his fellow Republicans for voting for a budget that adds $9 trillion to the debt over ten years. He claims that the budget includes “reconciliation instructions” that can allow Congress to bring a later bill that only needs a simple majority. He says this could have been added in any bill; it did not necessarily have to go in the “Worst. Bill. Ever.” He accuses fellow Republicans of hoodwinking voters by saying its an “Obamacare repeal vote” when the bill says nothing about Obamacare, but in reality is the “most massive budget ever.”
Obamacare was the square peg that would not fit in the round hole. To fix this problem, the Democrats took a sledge-hammer to the healthcare sector of the economy and the fundamental relationship between the citizen and the government, saying, “See, it fits perfectly.” Republicans are now doing what right-leaning parties always do. Instead of reversing the left’s “progress,” they are trying to “make it work better” or “make it more cost-effective” or doing the absolute minimum to proclaim they did something. This is what Margaret Thatcher’s mentor Keith Joseph liked to call the “ratchet effect.” The ratchet effect stated that socialist governments pushed to ratchet to the left, but when conservative governments came into power they would not push the ratchet back to the right. Instead they resigned themselves to simply be better managers of the ever-growing socialist state.
Despite Republican campaigning on full repeal for years, Trump has said he wants to maintain some of the law’s regulations, such as mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing individuals to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Simply defunding Obamacare and eliminating the mandate is not good enough. Leaving the regulations in place is not only bad politics, it is bad policy. The reason health insurance costs have sharply increased is because of all the regulations, which Republicans are promising to keep. Conservatives should keep a watchful eye on the replacement plan, as Trump has never let go of his love of government-run health care.