- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Obamacare repeal, once the dream of the GOP, has turned a nightmarish corner and Republicans just can’t get it past the finish line — despite having a clean sweep of the power halls of Congress and the White House.

Last week, the Freedom Caucus shuttered a reform bill — rightly so. Now, it’s the centrists who are stalling. Next week? Anybody’s guess. But it’s a trend that’s emerging as trustworthy: Republicans are dithering and dallying and here in mainstream America, Obamacare continues to devastate. Can you say sky-high deductible?

Now comes a new proposal, still in its early stages of discussion, forged by White House and Republican leaders, that includes a couple of provisions allowing states to apply for waivers on key Obamacare rules — or, to be clearer, on key costly Obamacare rules.

One rule, the essential health benefit regulation, mandates insurance companies cover mental health care and prescription drugs. The other, the community rating rule, prohibits insurance companies from passing along higher premium costs to Americans who have pre-existing medical conditions. Hard-and-fast conservatives say these two regulations significantly add to the costs of insurance premiums, and should be reeled in — perhaps by giving states the opportunity to waive them.

Nobody’s voted on this new Obamacare proposal, yet. But it’s already got a thumbs-down from many in the more moderate camps of the party.

From The Hill: “While we haven’t picked up any votes yet, this concept is already showing signs of losing a ton of them,” one senior Republican member said.

This, in a nutshell, is just why Congress doesn’t belong in the business of health care. Tenth Amendment, people. The Founding Fathers made provisions for those matters that weren’t specifically outlined and delegated in the Constitution, and in this case, it’s called states’ rights.

But Congress won’t loosen controls — and yet, frustratingly enough, won’t exert proper controls, by doing what was pledged. Obamacare repeal is deadlocked, sure and simple.

Majority Leader Paul Ryan said Obamacare repeal-reform is “at the concept stage right now,” something that undoubtedly comes as a shock to an eager American public duped — apparently — into believing Republicans were far past the thinking phase and way into the doing phase. And why would they think that?

Because Republicans told them so. Not only told — but actually voted. Remember all the Obamacare repeal votes when Barack Obama was president? Sure you do. Republicans were talking about them all the time, blaming their deaths in the House on a Democratic president who would never, no not ever, sign the repeal bill into law.

Well, where’s that legislation?

Can’t somebody go back to the file drawers from Obama administration days and pull out one of those repeal bills to pass? Republicans seemed on board with the concept then — so much that they acted with both vim and vigor to create legislation. Back in Obama days, Republicans were anti-Obamacare bill writing fools.

These days?

“For every adjustment you make one way, it has an equal and opposite reaction the other way,” said Rep. Mark Walker, who heads up the Republican Study Committee and thinks Obamacare repeal-reform is on a fast track nowhere, at least for the foreseeable future, The Hill reported.

His words: It’s like “squeezing blood out of a turnip.”

That may be. But if Republicans fail to achieve this very basic, very loud and very well-supported Obamacare repeal-reform they’ve been promising for so many years, you know what else will be like “squeezing blood out of turnip?”

Votes for Republicans, come 2018.

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