When Nancy Pelosi and company get through with their ridiculous post-Republican health-care-bill-failure victory lap, they may want to get to work offering improvements to Obamacare. And they better do it fast because President Trump, via his HHS Secretary Tom Price, has the ability to damage it further.
Trump’s “let Obamacare explode” response to his bill’s defeat may have seemed like him acting like a pouting child. But the fact is, he has the ability to wreck Obamacare. The president’s “burn the ships” strategy can exacerbate the problems the ACA has and allow him to point to the difficulties as say, “I told you so.”
Trump’s manipulation of the ACA can come though administrative processes through longtime ACA hater Price.
According to Marketwatch, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center can make changes to Medicaid. And another ACA creation, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, also has significant authority that Price can use.
Then there are the ACA subsidies, which make exchange plans affordable to middle and low-income individuals. If HHS declined to appropriate them, it would “immediately destroy the exchanges,” Marketwatch says.
Meanwhile, Pelosi and company did exactly the wrong thing in the wake of the Trump/Ryan plan’s defeat. They held a news conference saying the demise of the AHCA was “a victory of for the American people.” Um, no. It was a victory for the bag of whack Freedom Caucus which thought the AHCA didn’t go far enough in damaging the poor or helping billionaires.
It will be very difficult, no doubt. But there is nothing that says Democrats in Congress (including the 48 in the Senate) can’t work together with Republican moderates and GOP governors in Medicaid-expansion states (Govs. Baker of Massachusetts, Kasich of Ohio, Hutchinson of Arkansas, Sandoval of Nevada and Snyder of Michigan) to make the exchanges more attractive and increase competition across state lines.