Ideology & Health Care

After seven years of steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act by the GOP they finally get almost total control of the US Government and can’t get the job done. The Republicans have a 44 seat majority in the House, a 4 seat majority in the Senate, and they own the White House. All this unity of purpose, dogged determination, and new-found political power and, they still couldn’t get the job done. The best they could do is withdraw their American Health Care Act, let Obamacare stand, and blame the failure on Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the Congressional Democrats.

Now let me take a couple of minutes to explain what and why the GOP and Trump failed. It failed because the Republicans are not divided into factions based on ideology. Like the Democrats there are common or core beliefs but not everyone believes the same things. Unlike the Democrats, who have a relatively small and docile far-left faction, the GOP has a large and powerful far-right wing. They’ve got this bunch of well-financed (Koch brother money) and dogmatic conservatives running around the House calling themselves the Freedom Caucus.

Throughout most of the health care battle the Republicans were crying the mantra, repeal and replace, which sounds good to lots of people because lots of people want government provided health care but for a number of reasons didn’t like Obamacare. By November of 2016 enough had become convinced that something better was going to take ACA’s place. What they didn’t realize is how much political and economic ideology was going to influence the future of medical care in America.

For the first seven years of the ACA the GOP voted to repeal the law nearly 70 times and each time it was defeated. In that seven years they never came up with a bill of their own because that could have done to the GOP what just happened, they became the governing party and had to speak in specifics. Those specifics brought out their ideological differences and civil war erupted.

While moderates and centrist Republicans may have wanted to work on something fair to replace the ACA, the right-wing didn’t. The ideology of a right-wing conservative includes a strong belief that government shouldn’t play much of a part in helping people meet their basic needs. They don’t believe people have a right to safety nets like social security or medical care. They were all for repeal but wanted nothing to do with replace. If you must have something to blame yesterday’s failure on, point your finger to the intransigent far-right wing of the House of Representatives.

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