At the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, President Bush and his impersonator, Steve Bridges, made a joke that was only sort of a joke when they said “it’s time for us to come together, Republican, and Democrat, and John McCain.” The joke, like all jokes, was funny because it was a play on the truth. McCain is a wild card who seems to be unencumbered by the baggage of principles. McCain campaigned aggressively last year in Arizona against Obamacare and promised to lead the fight to repeal it if reelected. Instead, he has led the faction of the Republican Party that is seemingly committed to saving socialized medicine in America.
The Democrats have a plan for when Obamacare inevitably fails; it was written by Bernie Sanders. Liberals will never accept that their signature healthcare takeover is a failure. Instead, they will say that it did not go far enough and that Republicans prevented it from working properly. In a flurry of negative ads, Democrats will attack Republicans as “getting people killed” by opposing Medicaid for all, and they will seek to advance the single-payer system of which they have always dreamed. The first order of business for all conservatives must be to preclude Bernie Sanders’s dream of single-payer healthcare, which would destroy the standard of care we have come to expect in America.
The Graham-Cassidy bill that is currently being debated represents the single best opportunity this year to eliminate the mandates of Obamacare and ensure that Bernie Sanders never gets his way. The vast majority of Republicans on Capitol Hill have signaled support for the measure, recognizing that it is a good start from which we can further free the healthcare system from the stranglehold of big government. That Graham-Cassidy is not a perfect bill is a given, but it does gut Obamacare’s bail-out of insurance companies, eliminates the individual and corporate mandates to buy government-approved health insurance, and block-grants funding back to the states saving billions of dollars. It is a great start, and it will likely prevent single-payer healthcare in our lifetime.
For all of these reasons, Senator John McCain’s and Senator Rand Paul’s opposition is unforgivable. McCain has just decided to fully embrace socialized medicine and enshrine Obamacare, in spite of his campaign promises, and Rand Paul has elected to make the perfect the enemy of the good. If Senator McConnell can’t coerce at least 50 Republicans in his 52 member caucus to support Graham-Cassidy, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie, then I am concerned we may never repeal Obamacare. Republican voters will walk if repeal is not realized, and a potential Democratic congress come next November would protect Obamacare and move toward single-payer as their long term “fix.”
Republicans must keep their campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, and John McCain and Rand Paul are standing in the way. It is time to call both of them out for allowing Obamacare to continue to collapse under the weight of its own implausibility, and to condemn John McCain as the sell-out to the conservative movement that he has always been.