QOTD: An honest Republican

QOTD: An honest Republican

by digby

Sahil Kapur caught this one telling a hard truth:
"If you want to say the further and further this gets down the road, the harder and harder it gets to repeal, that's absolutely true," the aide said. "As far as repeal and replace goes, the problem with replace is that if you really want people to have these new benefits, it looks a hell of a lot like the Affordable Care Act. ... To make something like that work, you have to move in the direction of the ACA. You have to have a participating mechanism, you have to have a mechanism to fund it, you have to have a mechanism to fix parts of the market."
At some point these guys are going to start taking some of the credit for this thing. After all, it's a program that tracks closely with certain policies pushed by conservative health care wonks in the not too distant past and it was passed though an arduous negotiation between representatives of the health care industry and conservative members of congress. The conservative Supreme Court then came along and made it possible to partially gut the one major expansion of the government's commitment to serve the poor --- the main element of the reforms that progressives could not walk away from.

And, as with most heavy government lifts, the conservatives let the Democratic Party to do all their dirty work after which they came along and reaped the electoral rewards from the public's nervousness about big change. They do the same thing with "deficit reduction." After all, the last time the GOP tried to actually do something about a deficit was in 1990 --- and the president who pushed it was vilified by his own party for his trouble. And the Democratic government which followed through three years later suffered a massive defeat in the mid-terms --- a story which was to repeat itself in 2010 over the necessary health care battle. (It must be remembered that health care in the late 2000s was scheduled to be eating more and more of the nation's GDP and something had to be done. Republicans couldn't do it --- they are forced to pretend that "the market" will fix everything.) The way it works is that Democrats do the hard stuff (whether it's liberal or conservative) the Republicans immediately run against them, blaming them for doing it.

The saddest group of all is the left wing of the Democratic Party which ends up supporting the conservative/centrist agenda knowing that incremental change is better than none at all --- and then having to be tarred as useless hippies by the centrists and conservatives in their own party and commies and worse by the Republicans. Talk about a thankless job.

All you have to do is look at this hideous chart to see just what a scam it is:

The "compromise" they ended up with in 2014 was $1,012. And Paul Ryan quietly celebrated with a nice cold bottle of Veuve Clicquot.  

Obviously, when it comes to health care, it looks as though the fight will end up being worth it for the improvement it brings to the private insurance market (and those working poor people the states allow to sign up for the Medicaid expansion --- the one true progressive piece of the legislation.) It's hard to argue that we'd  be better off if it hadn't happened. But there is little doubt that this is essentially a conservative/centrist solution to a problem that full-blown progressive policies would solve more efficiently and more comprehensively. But with one party being conservative and the other party being half centrist/conservative --- and both parties answering to the Big Money Boyz --- this is the extent of the playing field.

And in this case, unlike the obsession with austerity, it actually adds up to a real, if incremental, improvement for some people. Now it's up to the progressives to keep pushing for more.