I don’t imagine this message will sound particularly bad to the 500,000 or so newly insured Kentuckians whose health plans would disappear under the Senate majority leader’s odious health care bill:
McConnell has presented the choice in these terms before— to threaten conservatives. His aim is to characterize his legislation as the end of the line for hardliners like senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, beyond which Republicans will have to make their peace with the Affordable Care Act.
But in doing so, McConnell is giving the lie to the White House’s bogus line that Obamacare is “dead” and the country now faces an immediate choice between Trumpcare and a national single-payer system. House Speaker Paul Ryan likewise routinely describes Obamacare as collapsing, as if policymaking wasn’t a tool at his disposal to effect the functioning of government programs.
McConnell is reluctantly admitting is that Obamacare is fixable, and that the law’s ongoing challenges reflect policy choices that Republicans have made in an attempt to hobble it.