Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire

It was bad policy, not poor tactics or negotiating skills, that doomed the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

he and his allies crafted a poorly constructed and radical bill that would sharply cut support to low-income Americans and those with serious health conditions, while enacting big tax cuts for the wealthy.

.. Speaker Ryan’s crafting of AHCA was a slapdash enterprise.

.. even leading health-care experts were confused by the changes. As Timothy Jost noted at Health Affairs: “This comprehensive a repeal of the ACA would have far-ranging consequences for our health care system that can scarcely be described, much less understood, in the hours that remain before a vote.”

.. wondered whether the game plan was just for the House to pass something—anything—and then let the Senate do the real work.

.. So why did Republicans fail? In a word: insincerity.

.. they might have refined another conservative model, such as Avik Roy’s modifications to ACA exchanges, to turn ACA’s exchanges in a more conservative direction.

.. Secure in the knowledge that they would face President Obama’s veto, Republicans rammed through a succession of extreme repeal-and-replace bills that resembled AHCA’s original draft. These bills excited the Republican base, but would have horrified most other Americans if they ever found sufficient reason to look.

.. Congressional Republicans suffered what George W. Bush might call a “catastrophic success” with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory.

.. leaving people in plans where the “deductibles are so high that it’s really not worth much to them.”

.. He vowed to replace the “failing,” “horrific” Obamacare with “something terrific.”

.. Republican plans are designed around higher deductibles and narrower benefits, not to mention more limited Medicaid.

.. smaller financial subsidies for people with chronic health conditions. That was the clear intention, but Ryan refused to admit it.

.. Many in the GOP, above all President Trump, seemed strangely uninterested in the policy details.

.. To the extent Republicans did have an animating passion, it was to puncture President Obama’s legacy—and to avoid looking foolish by failing to honor their “repeal and replace” rhetoric.

.. For all their endless warnings about how Obama’s signature health law was hurting American families, driving up costs and putting us on the path toward socialism, it turns out they didn’t care enough to put in the work.