ObamaCare Groundhog Day

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from The Wall Street Journal,

John McCain and Rand Paul all but doom a second reform attempt.

John McCain is an American war hero with many political accomplishments. That legacy, though will be diminished by not one but two decisions to kill Republican health-care reform. And no one should let Senator Rand Paul off the hook, either.

Mr. McCain said in a Friday statement that he “cannot in good conscience” vote for a proposal from Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would devolve ObamaCare funding to the states, as well as repeal the medical-device tax and the employer and individual mandates. The deadline to pass the bill with 51 votes is Sept. 30 thanks to arcane Senate budget procedures. Mr. McCain’s no vote almost certainly dooms the project, as Mr. Paul has already declared his opposition and Susan Collins of Maine is thought to be a reliable no vote as well.

Mr. McCain said that “a bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach.” This is a pipe dream.

Mr. McCain says he favors regular order, so perhaps Mr. Graham and company should go ahead with that and see if they can attach their bill to the next reconciliation vehicle after hearings and more debate. Our guess is Mr. McCain will oppose the bill even then. He’ll be waiting forever if he wants a bipartisan solution on an issue that is so polarized over the underlying role for government in delivering health care.

Mr. McCain’s objections are also about process, including that the Senate wouldn’t have a full score from the Congressional Budget Office in time for a vote. We won’t insult Mr. McCain by suggesting that he actually believes that several economists on Capitol Hill could forecast how 50 Governors across the country would use the money to experiment with health-care coverage.

Then there’s Mr. Paul, who has trashed the Graham-Cassidy proposal as ObamaCare lite because it isn’t sufficiently perfect reform or total repeal. But that is never coming either. Perhaps Mr. Paul should leave the Senate for the priesthood, so that he can live up to his chaste principles. On this earth he is abetting a further government takeover of health care. He is killing this bill, and reform, as surely as Mr. McCain.

What’s likely to be a bitter irony of Sen. McCain’s decision is that his action will endanger the fellow Republicans whose moderation he claims to revere. The ObamaCare failure is certain to enrage the Trump base. That anger will be channeled at his fellow moderates, either as primary challenges or efforts to drive them out of the Senate. It will erode what little is left of Donald Trump’s faith in the Republican Party. The worst outcome from this second GOP failure is that millions of Americans will continue to face higher costs and fewer choices for their health care.

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