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Friday, March 24, 2017

Who's hogging the popcorn?


So, let's see.

The CBO has reviewed the next version of Trumpcare, and found it will deny coverage to the same number of people as the first version of Trumpcare, but cost $186 million more.  The total tax cut would amount to $999 billion.  You read that right.

The vote on Thursday was postponed because the Freedom Caucus demanded the elimination of requirements that "health insurance" include coverage for:  hospitalization; ER care; prescription drug coverage; maternity and newborn care; pediatric care; or laboratory services.  That's not an exhaustive list, but one has to ask: without that, what "health insurance" are you paying for?  These exclusions have pleased some member of the Freedom Caucus, but now moderates don't like it; which is why the vote was delayed.

This is an important moment in the Administration's history.  As Howard Fineman says:

Presidencies often are defined, for better or worse, by their first big legislative move. Like first impressions in everyday life, they count bigly, and they establish political dynamics that can last.
But what about all that "Presidential power"?

“Presidential power is the power to persuade,” the late Harvard professor Richard Neustadt wrote in what is still considered the classic study. To do so, Neustadt wrote, presidents must be careful, anticipatory, listen, adapt, and collegial not dictatorial. And they must carefully nurture and guard their public image of wisdom, probity, patience and smarts.

Whether he wants to or not, Trump has to learn how acquire those qualities if he is to succeed. He is getting the first on-the-job lesson this week, as he tries to herd Republican cats.
The situation is changing so rapidly and unexpectedly Fineman didn't have time to consider what Trump has done now:  demand a vote Friday, or forget about Obamacare.  Which is not so much persuasion as it is in line with bullying and threatening.  So, there will be a vote in the House on Friday, and if the bill fails, Trump will abandon Obamacare reform and move on.

Which will, like it or not, establish political dynamics that can last.  As Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) put it, either the bill passes "“Or we will have the opportunity to watch a unified Democratic caucus impeach Donald Trump in two years in the majority.”

Where's the popcorn?



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