The Senate votes next week on the fate of the Trump agenda. @lizpeek @fiscaltimes.

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07-14-2017

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The Senate votes next week on the fate of the Trump agenda. @lizpeek @fiscaltimes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the start of the August recess for two weeks, giving his colleagues some extra days to come together on a healthcare bill. Good for him – our elected representatives need a firm boot in the rear to remind them they have a job to do.

Republicans should have repealed Obamacare on day one, with an expiration date three years in the future. Three years to come up with an alternative, to advertise the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act, to get past the midterm elections, pinch the bail-outs to insurers and to entertain the hundred and one ideas that might actually reduce the cost of healthcare. (Remember tort reform?) But they didn’t. Instead, they have lurched from one self-imposed deadline to another, looking unprepared and addled, and giving critics ample fodder for charges of incompetence.

Now what?

Related: Why Republicans Just Can’t Move on From Their Health Care Nightmare

As so many have said, failure is not an option. The Senate needs to craft a workable bill and get it passed. It does not have to be the best bill ever written – it just has to be better than Obamacare, which improved over time thanks to more than 70 significant changes made to the original legislation and still came up short. The GOP can tinker with their healthcare effort too, as the need arises.

In addition, here are five things that the GOP could do to regain their footing.

First, Republicans need to hone this message that all can agree on: The Affordable Care Act is not affordable, we are working to fix that. Obama often complained that it wasn’t his healthcare program that was flawed, but rather his team’s communications effort. The president was wrong; the ACA was fatally flawed, but he was correct that selling your plan is vital.

Jul 15, 05:01 AM
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