Watching Republican Leadership grapple with the repeal of Obamacare shows that House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican cohorts have: (1) no idea of congressional power; (2) no real commitment to the Constitution of the United States; and (3) abandoned the idea of limited government. To borrow from Justice Scalia, it seems the present GOP leadership (much like Justice John Roberts) “is committed to a single overriding principle…: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”
Republicans spent eight years railing against then President Obama’s “executive overreach.” By contrast, we now have a Speaker who is engaged in congressional under reach. Ryan is running around with his power-point presentation, claiming it is Mitch McConnell’s fault that he can’t keep his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare. Ryan is on every main-stream television network he can find talking to his base like we are toddlers explaining that those “crazy Senate rules” are preventing the Republican-led government from enacting a full-fledge Obamacare replacement.
Paul Ryan is further attempting to dazzle us with inside-baseball terms like “reconciliation,” and “the Byrd Rule” using them to proffer an argument as to why any replacement must be done in phases, all the while ignoring the single most important part of the legislative argument. According to Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution, “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings….” That means Republicans can change congressional rules any time they want and get on to the business of repealing Obamacare. Democrats exercised this “nuclear option” under the leadership of Harry Reid; and, I don’t remember liberals claiming they had no power to act because of some mythical made up rules. I also don’t recall a phase-in process for Obamacare.
If you want to talk about rules, take a look at our founding documents. Where is the constitutional mandate to meddle with health care? I understand that the political reality and constitutional reality might be different but is there any Republican in leadership who is standing on the principle that health care should be under the purview of the states not the federal government? It’s certainly not Ryan. As the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, he couldn’t effectively argue the nuance that while his running mate, Mitt Romney, designed a health care system for Massachusetts, a president shouldn’t do so for the entire union.
Seems Locke, Rousseau, Jefferson, and Hayek were taught in the conservative phrontisteries of yesteryear, given the Republican leadership’s quick willingness to support large scale big government policy that’s emerging from the Obamacare repeal debate. In outlining the principles of his American Health Care Act, Ryan’s entire power-point presentation exemplified big government republicanism.
For example, Paul Ryan touted that health care savings accounts are to be expanded. Sounds good but if Republicans really are for limited government why not just say that any money spent on health care is deductible or provide for no limits on pre-tax health savings accounts?
What the Republicans are not telling you is that a free-market/limited government approach to healthcare is not what the majority of the country wants. That is why Paul Ryan looks like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. The experts at designing big government redistributionist anti-constitutional policies with no respect for federalism are liberals not conservatives.
If House Republicans want government run and managed health care, which is what they’re cobbling together right now, they should just step back and let the experts do it – liberals. On the other hand, if the GOP wants to give at least a hat tip to the Constitution and the free market economy, Paul Ryan and the Trump administration need to go back to Square One and start from scratch.