Poll: Majority of Americans say it's time to move on from health-care reform

Agreed. Why force McConnell and Senate Republicans to continue flailing and failing on health care when there are so many other subjects on which they could flail-fail on?

Admit it. For the sheer entertainment value alone, we all want to see this broken party try to grope its way towards anything resembling a consensus on tax reform. I can almost hear “Yakety Sax.”

The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.” That is up from 54 percent in January…

When asked what they think Congress should do next, most Americans picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

Americans appear to be more supportive of some of the main features of Obamacare. For example, 77 percent said they were in favor of expanding Medicaid to low-income families, and 43 percent said they favored requiring U.S. residents to own health insurance. That was up from 66 percent and 36 percent, respectively, when Reuters/Ipsos first asked those questions in April 2012.

The most haunting line from last week’s Senate health-care fiasco came from McCain’s floor speech after voting yes on the motion to proceed, two days before he tanked skinny repeal. “All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we started trying to get rid of it,” he said of the GOP’s efforts to nuke ObamaCare. Yep, says Reuters. That’s exactly what the numbers show. Good job all around, especially from the crack Republican messaging team.

As for tax reform, the first flashpoint between the White House and Congress is already visible:

A top income-tax rate of 44 percent for Americans earning more than $5 million per year isn’t under consideration, a White House official said Monday, knocking down a proposal said to be backed by top Trump adviser Steve Bannon…

Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Sunday that he did not “intend” to introduce the 44 percent rate to his panel’s work. “We’re going for growth, which means lower rates at every level,” he said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday declined to comment directly on the Bannon report but said he supports the outline released by the Trump administration in April, which caps the top rate at 35 percent. “We’re not in the business of raising tax rates,” Ryan said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

A tax hike on the rich would be anathema to conservatives but it would polish Trump’s populist credentials and make some of his other proposals more salable if it came packaged with them. Imagine a GOP health-care proposal that eliminated ObamaCare’s Essential Health Care benefits, allowing insurers to sell much cheaper plans, but left a mandate intact for everyone to have inexpensive *catastrophic* coverage. What about paying for coverage for preexisting conditions? That’s where Bannon’s tax hike might come in: Make the rich, not the middle class, pay for the sick (or at least for part of their care). Not a conservative plan, to put it mildly, but then we don’t have a conservative president. If he’s destined to see his agenda thwarted in the Senate, why not at least push alternative programs that might be and probably would be more popular than whatever congressional Republicans come up with? If nothing else, that would make it easier for him to blame Ryan and McConnell for the party’s troubles.