Larry Pressler: The health care mess and tax reform failure


US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

We are in the doldrums of an extremely hot and humid Washington, D.C., summer. The Senate is dealing with its version of the health care bill, but even when its been voted on it will still have to get House concurrence. Unfortunately, the health care debate will drag on into the haze of July and early August when Congress will take its recess.

Having spent 22 years in Congress, I have long been an advocate for Congress to be more active and to take a lead as the Constitution provides it should. However, Congress is doing very little these days. It has made a mess of the health care debate and its promises of tax reform.

On health care, it would be better for President Trump and the congressional Republican leadership to release a surrender statement saying that “we campaigned to repeal Obamacare, but never proposed a substitute. Having come into office on the mantra of repealing Obamacare, we now feel compelled to do that. But, as time has evolved we realize that the people essentially want to keep the basics of Obamacare. Therefore, we are merely going to make a semantical change in the name of the program and basically keep it unchanged.”

As occurred with Medicare, which we old guys enjoy so much, the American people have come to expect universal health care insurance/coverage. Congress may technically repeal Obamacare, but it will keep almost everything in it with maybe some adjustments on Medicaid — which isn’t really a part of Obamacare. All this will be enormously expensive, which tragically will be added to the national deficit.

To continue this bleak assessment, Congress…

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