For the past two months, Republicans have played it stupid, hastily cobbling together a replacement for Obamacare that was short on particulars and long on problems. Aside from unseating 24 million Americans who were enrolled (for better or worse) in Obamacare, the bill lacked many of the features that made the prospect of repealing and replacing Obamacare enticing to voters. Chief among these was portability of premiums across state lines, which would increase competition and drive down costs.
Within the hour, Republicans did the smart thing and pulled the plug on the bill. The motivation for aborting the mission was a conspicuous lack of votes, primarily from members of the Freedom Caucus.
There is still some uncertainty over who engineered the move: whether it was the president or Paul Ryan. But either way, it was the right way to go.
Pressure by Democrats to develop a bipartisan plan out of the ashes of Obamacare may now seem tempting to some members of the GOP. They should resist. For one thing, Obamacare will be albatross around the necks of Democrats for many years to come. There is no sane reason why Republicans should help them lug that burden by attempting to fix this monstrous initiative. Besides, this momentary setback won’t mean much if, down the road, the GOP is able to deliver on a promised replacement. That won’t be easy — it never was — but it can happen if the caucus members take their time, work out all the kinks, and develop a sound initiative that reduces costs and eliminates all taxes and regulations.