Heather Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, says go big or go home regarding Obamacare. Republicans in Congress should quit dithering, should not play reconciliation games, and should simply put an Obamacare repeal and replace package up for vote. This would force the Democrat obstructionists—especially those #NeverTrumpNoHow and #NeverRepublicanNotEver Progressive-Democrats in the Senate on the record as by-name blocking reform of the Obama program that is in its death spiral, the endpoint of which will leave millions of Americans without health coverage and without even coverage providers to which to appeal. Especially put those 10 Progressive-Democrats pretending to moderacy in order to protect their precarious reelection chances in 2018 on the spot.
Now that insurers are acknowledging the death spiral, there’s an opportunity for bolder action. The House could use regular order, not reconciliation, to pass a bill that not only fully repeals ObamaCare—returning control of the private market to the states—but simultaneously puts into effect at least the core components of reform while including grandfathering and other provisions to smooth the transition to lower-priced options on the free market.
Such a bill could easily pass the House, putting pressure on the Senate. Would Minority Leader Chuck Schumer allow proper consideration of much-needed health-care reform? And with all the evidence that ObamaCare has been a disaster and—untouched by Republicans—is quickly unraveling, would Democrats, 25 of whom are up for re-election next year, vote to defend the status quo?
There would be two Senate filibuster points—the first, to allow consideration; the second, to allow a vote. Thinking through what would happen, the American public and Trump administration would be well served by this exercise of transparent democracy.
If Democrats blocked consideration of the bill, they would do President Trump a favor by showing the public the parliamentary shenanigans of the anti-deliberation filibuster—call it the “Senatorial Full Employment Through Avoiding Tough Votes” maneuver.
If Democrats refuse to allow debate, Republicans should kill the filibuster against deliberation (as distinct from the filibuster to end debate and hold a vote). They can do so by simple majority vote, as Harry Reid showed when he ended the filibuster against most nominations in 2013. Either way, the Senate can actually have a vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act and reforming health care.
Republicans should heed this advice, and go for it. If it fails, Republicans can always go the reconciliation route.