While Republicans fight internally about their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, Democrats are heckling from the sidelines -- ridiculing the GOP's disunity, and making apocalyptic claims about what the Republican plan might do. What they're not doing is offering any constructive ideas on how to alleviate the widespread and worsening pain inflicted upon American consumers by the failed, partisan healthcare scheme they lied about and rammed through during President Obama's first term. As we've noted before, Democrats don't have any good answers for Obamacare's millions of victims, who substantially outnumber the success stories they're so eagerly showcasing these days. Incidentally, President Trump was smart to invite real people who've been hurt by the failing law to the White House for a listening session; Republicans would be wise to keep these people front and center throughout this debate. But Democrats have no good answers because there are none. They passed a bad law that isn't working, and the "fixes" they occasionally mutter about are politically unviable, stale and recycled -- or they double down with even heavier-handed government coercion and intervention. Democrats' dearth of meaningful ideas in the face of the terrible mess for which they're exclusively responsible has gone mostly unnoticed in the press coverage of the current fight. But not entirely unnoticed. Here are two CNN personalities making an obvious point that should be a bigger element of the story:
Quite right. I understand the politics of Democrats lining up against the reconciliation bill. But if a version of it eventually passes, as we raised earlier, would every Senate Democrat continue to stand in the way of important fixes to the healthcare market that can't be tacked onto filibuster-proof budgetary legislation? That's unclear. I'll leave you with Bernie Sanders (ahem, Captain "Fair Share") going full demagogue about how the GOP plan would kill a bunch of people by upending much of Obamacare:
Except the data demonstrates that Obamacare isn't saving lives in the aggregate. US mortality rates stopped improving after the law's passage (faring worse in states that expanded Medicaid), and in 2015, US life expectancy actually dropped for the first time in decades. Obamacare was hardly a silver bullet. And now seems like as good a time as any to once again repeat a crucial truth in this whole debate: Coverage is not the same thing as access to care.