The Trump administration and House Republicans were no doubt celebrating well into the night on Thursday after (miraculously) passing a healthcare bill that would repeal and replace some of the worst portions of the Affordable Care Act. But with the Senate already saying that they will rewrite the legislation from scratch and Democrats going into full-on attack mode over the bill, some think this “victory” could turn into one of the biggest defeats for conservatism in modern American history.
Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show Thursday night to discuss the healthcare bill, which he said might not be the great win House leaders were touting it as.
Republicans, he said, “are beginning to understand how the fundamental view of healthcare among the American people has changed.”
“Obamacare is a disaster,” Krauthammer said, “but people’s expectations have changed. You watched the debate over the last three months. What are the grounds? They are liberal grounds. It is showing that the public is at a point where it believes in universal coverage. Once you are there, the ground is shifted.”
Krauthammer’s logic here is sound. Six years ago, the conservative view of Obamacare was simple: Yes, there were some problems about the way the health insurance business was being run and how it was freezing out individuals who had pre-existing conditions and other hurdles to overcome. But no, we should not be putting the federal government in charge of regulating the entire industry. We should not be saddling the American people with another trillion dollars in taxes under the guise of “fixing” the healthcare industry. We certainly should not make criminals out of those who choose not to purchase a product on the private market.
Today, the terms of the debate have changed in a big way. This is why Republicans have had such a difficult time repealing Obamacare. Suddenly, the ACA’s protections are indispensable and the thought of taking them away…unthinkable! The ground of discussion has shifted massively to the left, leaving many to remember the basic Washington axiom: It’s much easier to stop an entitlement program beforehand than to cut it later.
Krauthammer said if you look at that shift closely, you can’t help but conclude that the U.S. is on its way to a universal healthcare system.
“I think that’s where it’s going,” he said. “Whether it will end up single payer – the Canadian system – or not, I am not sure. I will guarantee you this: Within a few years, there won’t be an argument about whether government has an obligation to ensure that everybody gets health coverage.
“That is with the Democrats wanted all along,” he continued. “They weren’t quite ready to pull the trigger in 2010. So, they ended up with this hybrid system, this rickety system. The idea, I think, has now sunk in.”
And why has it “sunk in”? Because we have very few Republicans with the knowledge or the conservative credentials to actually go out and argue – on principle, not detail – why government expansion weakens the United States. Dependency is quickly becoming a valid lifestyle choice for millions and millions of Americans.
Universal healthcare would not be the end of America as we know it, but the cultural shift that has led us to this point may well be.