Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Battle Won. More to Come.

Donald Trump claims that the Democrats "own" healthcare now that the Republican has failed.  But like many of Donald's opinions, this is one is also wrong.  True that the Democrats are the architects of the system now in place but much of that system lies within his authority as president.  Obama handed him the keys on January 20.  His failure to craft a replacement means that he's in charge of administering the Affordable Care Act along with his minion, Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Donald Trump and the Republicans also claim that the Affordable Care Act will collapse of its own weight, that it's going into a death spiral, which like much information from Trump and the Republicans is not true. But Trump and his minions are positioned to monkeywrench the machinery.   We saw this when he canceled outreach efforts during the most recent enrollment period and his directive that IRS no longer enforce the individual mandate.  Plenty of opportunities exist for Trump to push the system into collapse.

If we let him.

The failure of Republican Repeal and Replace is a greater victory than I would have ever expected.  It came about because Paul Ryan offered a completely unacceptable alternative and people mobilized against it.  Now that we know the Affordable Care Act will continue in force for at least the forseeable future, we need to pay close attention to the administrative process to keep Trump's ideological minions from creating the death spiral they fervently wish upon the American people.

That goes for everything else, too.  Trump has seeded the federal government with ideologues who want to lead their agencies into the dustbin of history.  Scott Pruitt at EPA and Betsy DeVos at Education come to mind most readily but they are hardly alone.  They all will have plenty of opportunities for destructive mischief.  Legislative battles are dramatic but the administrative process carries great weight as well and is easily overlooked.  We can't afford not to pay attention.

Caveats aside, the defeat of  Repeal and Replace is worth celebrating.  For the moment, at least, one dreadful change is dead and the ideologues' plans are disrupted.  The trillion-dollar tax cut for the rich at the expense of health insurance for millions won't happen. 

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