A lot of worksheet copying takes place in Washington. Republicans want to find a more or less workable middle ground between single-payer health care and the absolute free market for medical services that we are never going back to — even Ted Cruz only wants to raise funds off the insinuation that we could eliminate the welfare state altogether. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act did exactly that, which is why after seven years Republicans have been unable to come up with anything substantially different. Paul Krugman is right when he says that the GOP’s response when asked what they want to accomplish with the American Health Care Act have basically amounted to “‘Er. Ah. Um.'” But that’s not because their last-minute secret revisions to their replacement package represent some sinister plot. They are clumsy, random, and painfully desperate.
The Republicans are stupid, not deliberately cruel. Embracing single payer, the obvious and straightforward solution that long ago presented itself to our hockey-loving, beer-chugging, hunting and fishing neighbors to the north, is unacceptable to their fire-breathing geriatric constituents, who simultaneously loathe government and don’t want to see anything happen to Medicare. In front of them is a plan devised by the Heritage Foundation in the ’90s that is messy but not ipso facto unacceptable. The only problem is that it was passed by a guy with a D behind his name.