2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Dear Sen. McConnell: There's a very easy way for you to "protect the American people".

Over at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent notes that Mitch McConnell, as expected, is following the standard Republican playbook when it comes to...well, everything, really: Blame President Obama.

BAIER: Doesn’t this hold some potential problems for the GOP? What do you think the solution is if you have to deal with this quickly?

McCONNELL: Depending on what the Supreme Court decides, we’ll have a proposal that protects the American people from a very bad law. Obamacare was the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in the last half century. The single biggest step in the direction of Europeanizing our country…What we will do is offer a proposal to protect the American people.

Setting aside the "Europeanizing" part for the moment (seriously, I always wonder about the impact on foreign policy/diplomatic relations with our allies whenever a Republican says something like this), Sargent lays out the GOP's options:

Republicans themselves have repeatedly said that for political reasons, they must offer — or look like they are offering — some kind of temporary fix. The basic choices: 1) Offer a clean subsidy fix (which can’t pass). 2) Offer a subsidy fix in exchange for concessions that Dems might make, such as repeal of the employer mandate (but this probably can’t pass, either, since it wouldn’t destroy Obamacare). 3) Pass one of the two above options with mostly Dems, but that would enrage conservatives. 4) Offer a subsidy fix that also repeals the individual mandate and severely undermines the law (which might get enough conservative support to pass, but would be vetoed) and then blame Obama. 5) Fail to unify behind anything at all, and then blame Obama.

...which is a nice counterpoint to my own list from the other day:

  • Option 1: The GOP-controlled Supreme Court rules for the government, sparing all 3 legs.
  • Option 2: Failing that, the GOP-controlled Congress takes 5 minutes out of their day to tack on "...or the federal government" (or similar) to the wording of the law.
  • Option 3: Failing that, the GOP-controlled States slap together whatever legislation/executive orders are necessary to "establish" state exchanges to the bare minimum legally required to comply with the "established by the state" wording.
  • Option 4: Congress replaces the ACA with Single Payer or a Medicare for All buy-in option, thus making all of this nonsense moot.
  • Option 5: Nobody does anything, and the entire individual insurance market is destroyed across nearly 3 dozen states, leaving millions utterly screwed.

Assuming Option 1 doesn't happen, if Senator McConnell and his fellow Republicans were genuinely interested in "protecting the American people", they'd choose Option 2, which would also have the benefit of dealing with the issue "quickly".

...all of which goes right back to my open letter to the Republican Party from back in February: