If I Were Mitch McConnell

Gonna veer off into political game theory, just because the Republicans have presented me with an unsolvable problem, and I love those.

Put yourself in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s shoes. For 8 years you and your party have loudly opposed Obamacare. You’ve vowed to repeal it and replace it with something better, and when Trump got elected, you got your chance to accomplish your flagship promise. But you never actually wrote a replacement healthcare plan because nobody expected Trump to win. So now you go about drafting one, but it’s hard because Obamacare is already the most Republican healthcare plan conceivable, and that’s where Mitch’s replacement plan has been struggling. Everything he adds alienates either the hardcore Conservatives or the Moderate conservatives, and just yesterday two Republican senators came out and announced that they would oppose the bill. This puts Mitch’s support at 48/52 Republican senators, not enough to ram the bill through.

In a last desperate attempt, Mitch announced today that they would vote on repealing Obamacare and not replacing it with anything. They’ll just kill it and work out a replacement before the repeal goes into effect. Unfortunately, to nobody’s surprise Republican senators from all fronts are saying they’re not gonna go for that. Mitch has like two weeks to find a solution because he was abusing a loophole where he marketed the repeal as a “budget readjustment” (which requires only a majority of the senate to vote yes), since repealing Obamacare would lower federal costs. The time for voting on budget adjustments runs out in two weeks. After that, Mitch will have to work with his Obamacare repeal as a regular bill which will require 2/3ds of Congress, aka Democrat support (since Mitch only has 52 republicans in the Senate). My Democrat friends are crowing excitedly at the Republicans’ absolute failure to accomplish their goal, and my Republican friends are furious at their senators for failing to accomplish the one thing they’ve been adamant about doing for almost a decade. By all accounts, Mitch’s ship seems sunk. But I, safe in my knowledge that nobody reads this blog, think I’ve found a solution. Here’s what I would do in Mitch’s case:

I would ‘draft’ a healthcare bill that does X, call it “Republicare”, and urge my constituents to pass it. X is literally word-for-word what Obamacare currently does. They’d literally repeal and replace it with the exact same plan under their own name.

This would allow them to accomplish their primary goal: repealing ‘Obamacare’. After all, Obamacare is just a name, the healthcare bill itself is actually quite popular. My Republican friends are quite happy with the Affordable Care Act despite it being the exact same plan. Mitch’s base has proven that they almost entirely care about the optics of repealing Obamacare, so give them what they want. And you don’t even have to suffer the fallout of stealing healthcare from 22 million Americans. Now they can say “Ha! We repealed Obamacare! And now you can all enjoy healthcare courtesy of the Republican party!” Just ignore all the snickering Democrats, Mitch has never cared what they thought anyway.

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