The guideline I try to follow when considering whether I support a policy action is whether it actually advances the position I ultimately want to see enacted. I have stated that stance in these words before and will do so again:
A compromised principle leads to unrighteousness, but a principled compromise is a step closer to the principle’s ideal.
For instance, on abortion, I don’t take an all-or-nothing approach. If a proposed bill decreases the number of abortions, I support it because lives will be saved. I then hope for further steps that will get policy even closer to my ideal.
Obamacare repeal is now on the front burner in Congress. I’m trying to figure out whether what the Republican Congress is proposing is truly an advancement in repeal—a principled compromise—or if it is instead a compromised principle.
I’m willing to be patient if I know that the proposed bill is only a first step toward an effective repeal and replacement. I also know that some compromise is probably necessary due to lack of unity among Republicans on what should be done. I don’t really envy Mitch McConnell’s job:
The problem, as this political cartoon illustrates, is that some of the ducks are more like chickens—they are afraid of losing their prestigious Senate seat by supporting something that will anger too many voters.
The House bill already was rather weak; the Senate bill, which was released yesterday, is, by most accounts, even weaker, as most commentators predicted it would be.
Already four senators—Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ron Johnson—have declared they cannot support it in its current state. They say it does nothing to reduce premiums and it leaves most of the infrastructure of Obamacare in place. Even the principal architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, gleefully declared that this proposed bill keeps Obamacare basically intact.
Obamacare’s regulatory scheme remains untouched; insurance companies will continue to receive subsidies (from taxpayers, keep in mind); it says it will reform Medicaid (but not for a number of years, so who really believes that will happen?); Planned Parenthood is defunded (for one whole year; after that, it reverts back to current funding); the individual mandate and taxes do go away, but all the regulations continue as before.
Those four senators who said they cannot support the bill are now going to try to strengthen it. If they don’t succeed, and they stay firm in their opposition, it will go down to defeat, and rightly so.
Why rightly so? It’s not enough of a principled compromise; it leans heavily toward a compromised principle.
How often were we told by Republicans that once they got control of Congress and the White House that they would destroy the Obamacare monster once and for all? Well, here’s the reality:
This is so sad, it’s hard to know what else to say.