As the “skinny plan” — the latest Republican effort to repeal but not replace Obamacare — dies, Representative Trey Gowdy has announced that he will not be one of its pall-bearers.
Speaking on “Fox and Friends” Friday, the Congressman told the hosts,
Our problem is that for seven years, we’ve been telling folks what we’re against and what we’re opposed to. And then we’ve had seven months to govern and the best we can come up with is a skinny plan on 24 hours notice?
We’ve gotta get better at telling people what we believe, why we believe it, and then persuading them that it is right for the country.
We’ve had plenty of time to do it, we set unrealistic expectations, and then we never meet them, which leads to anger and frustration.
“It’s a complicated issue, but it’s always been. We’ve had seven years to figure it out and the best we came up with is something called ‘skinny.’
When Brian Kilmeade asked him if Republicans should ‘move on or go back’, Gowdy responded:
No, we gotta go back. It impacts 20 percent of the economy. It was a fundamental promise of the Trump campaign. And it desperately needs to be done. The Affordable Care Act is failing.
If you are going to fail, though, fail doing what you really fundamentally believe.
I would propose changes that are transformational, and it’s going to require persuading my fellow citizens including some independents and Democrats that this is best for the country.
It’s not going to be done with 24 hours notice and a bill that has the word ‘skinny’ in it.
Gowdy, of course, makes a great point. It’s difficult to believe Republicans don’t have a plan on which they can agree to repeal-and-replace Obamacare.
It’s especially difficult to believe when one considers that Republicans in Congress such as then-Representative Jim DeMint and others were proposing health care reforms which would have included a national marketplace for insurance buyers and health savings accounts long before the nation had ever heard of Barack Obama.
Yet even a plan such as a skinny plan whose modest ambitions were to repeal at least the aspects of Obamacare almost all Republicans declared to be most troubling – such as the individual mandate and Planned Parenthood funding – has failed.
However, Gowdy may be overestimating the GOP’s power of persuasion over Democrats, who now – thanks to Senator McCain – will have a seat at the table on any Obamacare reform discussion.
Will any Congressional Democrat vote to do more than tinker around the edges of Obamacare?
Will they eliminate the individual mandate, Planned Parenthood funding, the Medicare expansion, or the many taxes associated with it?
Will the Democrats move us away from government-controlled socialized medicine?
It is hard to say “yes” to these questions.
Perhaps Gowdy will soon find that if there is one thing worse than the skinny bill, it is any bill the GOP will have to come up with now that they have to work with the Democrats to pass.