The Democratic bill in 2010 delivered significantly to the party’s base; the Republican bill in 2017 delivers significantly only to the party’s donors.
.. In order to mitigate its unpopularity, Senate Republicans keep making their bill more like, well, Obamacare, which raises the question of why they’re attempting something so complex for such a modest end.
.. the smaller bill would repeal the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance. It would replace it, as the Senate bill does, with a continuous-coverage requirement — a waiting period to purchase insurance if you go without it for more than two months.
.. Instead of wringing almost $800 billion out of Medicaid over 10 years, it would try to reduce the program’s spending by $250 billion — just enough for deficit neutrality.
.. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Eliminate the hated mandate, keep the exchanges stable, cut a few health care taxes, and pull Medicaid spending downward. Pass the package, declare victory, and pivot to tax reform.
.. Republicans could campaign in 2018 on the credible claim that they had maintained Obamacare’s coverage for most people who wanted it, while reducing its burdens on those who don’t.
.. the Republican Party is too divided on health care, too incompetently “led” by its president, and too confused about the details of health policy to do something that’s big and sweeping and also smart and decent and defensible.