The New Yorker Magazine had a cynical yet plausible explanation of Trump’s hot and cold support of Trumpcare. Republicans have made two promises that can’t be reconciled. They promised to repeal Obamacare, and to replace it with a terrific law that would take care of everybody. As the House Republican ad put it, they promised, “more choices and better care, at lower costs. … peace of mind to people with preexisting conditions … without disrupting existing coverage.” Those things cannot be reconciled. If Republicans repeal Obamacare, they will put in place something that not only fails to provide the better, cheaper care they have promised the country, but does not meet even the minimal threshold of access to basic care for people who currently receive it.
Politico and CNN reported that Trump has a fallback plan: Let Obamacare fail on its own, blame the Democrats , and push another Republican health-care plan two years from now.
In remarks at the Republican retreat CPAC, and on Twitter, Trump mentioned that the smartest political move would be to do nothing to improve the health-care system. Apparently that is his plan based on Trumpcare.
“I actually talked with Paul [Ryan] and the group about just doing nothing for two years, and the Dems would come begging to do something because ’17 is going to be catastrophic price increases, your deductibles are through the roof, you can’t use them, and they will come to us,” Trump said at the annual GOP retreat in Philadelphia.
“I’m serious if we waited two years it’s going to explode like you’ve never seen an explosion,” he said. “That’s politically what we should do but we don’t want to do that.”
So Trump is betting that after promising to repeal and replace Obamacare immediately, backing a bill everyone hates, failing to make members of his own party pass it, then doing nothing for two years as Americans go broke and even die, the country is going to blame Democrats for failing to fix the health-care system.
From that standpoint, the winning play for the GOP might be to try to repeal and replace Obamacare but fail. If they are seen trying and failing to repeal the law, it might upset the base, but most Republican lawmakers will have their opposition to Obamacare on the record. And if it is to fail, it should fail quickly, so they can move on to increasing the deficit by cutting taxes.