Can the GOP blame Democrats for a health reform failure?

There is not only division among Republicans in Congress, but within the Trump administration as well. A February 26 Washington Post story reported that Trump had been persuaded by Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s argument in favor of retaining expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and “other White House advisers, according to multiple individuals who asked for anonymity to describe private conversations, have emphasized the potential political costs to moving aggressively. That group includes [Trump’s son-in-law Jared] Kushner, NEC Director Gary Cohn, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.”…

And while the man sure does love a rally, privately Republicans harbor doubts Trump can be counted on to make it to the finish line in what is expected to be a grueling intraparty fight. Ryan energetically affirmed Wednesday, when asked about Trump’s involvement, that “This is a team sport,” and, “It’s all hands on deck,” and they are working together “hand in glove.” Yet Trump’s preference in the past has been to offer up conflicting statements that leave him an out. Republican lawmakers continue to worry Trump could back off of a final plan to lay the blame for failure on them later. As one Republican congressman asked, “The question: Will Trump really engage in the process, or will he be a bystander?”

In the past Trump has promised subsidized coverage that will be better and less expensive, which is pretty much undeliverable by this Republican congressional majority, unless of course Trump truly wants to work with Democrats on an even less conservative approach. That would surely be a better path to lasting reforms, as the ACA taught Republicans that partisan laws are usually unpopular and don’t stand the test of time. But anything crafted with Democrats, who are likely to reflexively oppose Trump anyway, would be considered far too liberal by conservatives.

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