In nine days, the Senate’s time limit to get some sort of Obamacare reform effort passed expires. There is one last plan available to them – the Graham-Cassidy Plan – and it is currently the best and only chance to make some movement on the issue of health care reform.
Let’s be honest though: This isn’t Repeal And Replace. Not even close. A large chunk of Obamacare’s regulatory structure remains, pre-existing conditions are still covered, and it spends a whole lot of money at a time when you can reasonably argue the nation can’t afford to. However, the benefits of the plan currently outweigh that.
There are certainly great benefits to repealing the individual and employer mandates, as well as block-granting money to the states to establish their own system, rather than rely on a large federal government structure to tell them what to do. However, the biggest benefit of Graham-Cassidy is that it inches us toward a more conservative system.
If you’ll recall, most of us here at RedState opposed the original House plan to “repeal and replace.” I specifically mentioned that the House bill opened with a line about amending the Affordable Care Act, which is decidedly not “repeal and replace.” Moreover, the House plan was a classic example of Republicans not knowing how to negotiate. The Republican Party’s leadership is often a group that writes and presents the bills that represent what they expect to get all along. They don’t give themselves negotiating room.
Had they done so, it would have been fine for them to sit down with conservatives and liberals alike and negotiate toward the middle. That way, there would be assurances that each side would get some sort of “victory” out of the eventual bill. That is the type of negotiating that made the Reagan era so great for conservatism. He kept the ball moving down the field.
Republicans don’t do that, because they give up all the ground possible so they can put out a bill that they think could get passed the quickest. They don’t want debate or negotiating.
With the Graham-Cassidy plan, we are now left with the option of gaining back some ground or forfeiting it, perhaps for good. That is not a good option, and we need to back Senate Republicans in order to get it passed and walk away from this year with something done on Obamacare.
That’s what makes Rand Paul’s stance so infuriating. He is voting against the Graham-Cassidy plan because it doesn’t repeal and replace. He is willing to cede ground because we wouldn’t be gaining enough ground. It’s a dumb argument, because, as the editors at National Review said this week, not being what you want it to be is grounds for committee or debate, not outright rejection.
There is good that will come from this bill, should it pass. Conservatives should back it now, because we currently have the chance to land a blow to Obamacare. It’s not a knockout, but it’s still a blow.
Plus, John Kasich hates the bill, which makes it all the more likely that it’s not a terrible bill.