President Donald Trump pledged to bring much needed change to Washington and that he would deliver it by making better deals for the American people. He has already started on health care reform and is taking bold and decisive action to break the cycle of gridlock in Congress.
Health care reform is the first step towards spurring job growth and bolstering the economic recovery the President assured voters when he vowed to Make America Great Again. Republicans should consider the consequences of derailing the broader conservative agenda if they fail to reach a deal on health care. And the President will surely hold them accountable throughout the process.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), assembled by House Leadership and the White House, may be the best and only hope for Republicans to prevent the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from collapsing under its own weight. It also represents the first concrete legislative solution that takes into account political and legislative realties, chief among them the reconciliation process the bill must be considered under. It’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point, and its author’s have indicated they are willing to negotiate on the bill.
Controlling both Houses of Congress and the White House comes with the responsibility of putting together a conservative governing agenda. Governing requires comprise, and President Trump should demand that Republicans, Democrats, supporters, and critics alike strike a deal that can pass through the House and the Senate. It will be the President’s job to explain to the American people that it is better than the status quo. If members of his own party are unwilling to give the proposal a fair shot, then he should rally his supporters to their attention. The President is our most active salesman and has shown this in the past with his detractors.
Taking a hard line and demanding that Congress, including members of his own party, get to work represents a strong and bold move by the President, and reinforces to the American people that he is fighting to get them a better deal.
As the American Action Forum’s Doug Holtz-Eakin and Patrick Hefflinger note, the AHCA will begin the process of replacing the one-size fits all, top down ACA model. It also provides more market based incentives in place of mandates, and repeals arduous taxes on medical devices, health insurers, tanning salons, investors and many others. It also aims to save $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Aside from the underlying problems Obamacare has created for Americans’ health care choices and the U.S. economy, a political defeat this large and early on in the Administration could spell doom for other Republican priorities, including tax reform, entitlement reform, and infrastructure spending.
The AHCA’s most strident critics should also consider what voters meant when they asked for change in Washington. The status quo has been represented by politicians who made excuses for not getting results during the past eight years. They punished Democrats dearly during that time, and there’s no reason why Republicans won’t face the same consequences if they return home with nothing to show. Voters want change, not more of the same excuses from elected officials in Washington.
Members of Congress calling the bill D.O.A. should consider the consequences of inaction. It’s Congress’ job to legislate. President Trump should continue to use the Bully Pulpit to rally his supporters and move Congress to act. And those who are unwilling to work towards a deal should have to answer for their obstruction.