Trump Ready To Sign Executive Order On Obamacare Mandate, But Will Wait And See If Republicans Screw Up Tax Bill With It First

Oh, good: Trump is going to go ahead and undercut the nation’s health care system some more.

At this point, it is abundantly clear that this administration’s entire raison d’être revolves around erasing Barack Obama’s legacy.

To be sure, it was always about that to a certain extent, but it kind of feels like the more desperate Trump gets, the more he resorts to spiteful efforts to unravel Obama-era policies without regard for the consequences. It’s almost as though he believes the propaganda that Obama is running a shadow government that’s in on some kind of conspiracy to undermine the current administration and so Trump is now tilting at windmills in a Quixote-esque effort to gain the upper hand in an imaginary struggle.

This dynamic is supercharged when he thinks undercutting an Obama-era policy might do something (or as he would put it: “DO SOMETHING!”) to advance his own stalled agenda. Witness this, out this morning from the Examiner:

The Trump administration has prepared an executive order that would unravel Obamacare’s individual mandate, but has put it on hold to see whether it might be included in the Republican tax bill instead, a GOP senator told the Washington Examiner.

According to the senator, an executive order is sitting with the Office of Management and Budget waiting for approval. President Trump decided to delay the executive order after Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., pushed for the inclusion of the individual mandate repeal in the tax bill, and has been supportive of its inclusion in statements he has made on Twitter.

[…]

Including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill instead of through executive order would create billions in budget savings that Republicans need to pay for tax cuts. According to a Congressional Budget Office report published in December 2016, repeal of the individual mandate would save $416 billion over a decade, since it would mean fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid and fewer subsidy payments would go to people who sign up for private coverage. A new CBO report is expected Monday.

The repeal is not currently in the tax bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said this weekend that it was on the negotiation table among House Republicans.

“We have an active conversation with our members on a whole host of ideas on things to add to this bill and that’s one of the things being discussed,” he said.

The senator who spoke to the Washington Examiner, who asked to remain anonymous, thinks colleagues could embrace repeal in the tax bill, because the revenue generated “pays for so many tax cuts.”

Got that? They’re going to repeal the individual mandate so they can give tax cuts to the rich.

Obviously that’s an overgeneralization and it’s certainly not the most generous interpretation, but give me a break – this is just another example of undermining something before you have a solution. It’s myopic – the GOP is chasing short-term legislative wins with no regard for the long-term consequences. If you want to get rid of Obamacare that’s fine, but you’ve got to figure out how to do it right because after all, one of the main criticisms of Obamacare was that it wasn’t done right in the first place.

Of course if they try to attach this to the tax bill, it will invariably complicate things further and make it less likely that the GOP can cram something on taxes through by the end of the year.

That right there underscores the absurdity inherent in this whole thing. They are now trying to attach something they failed to get done earlier this year onto something they’re trying to get done now, and in doing so they’re making it more likely that they’ll fail again.

And, if they don’t include it in the bill, well then Trump will just sign an executive order and make the whole thing even more chaotic.

Summed up…

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