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OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/22/2017

OPINION - Shields And Brooks 9/22/2017

"Shields and Brooks on GOP’s Health care uncertainty, Trump’s UN nationalism" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2017


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news; including the fate of the latest Senate Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump’s role in the special Senate election in Alabama, and what that runoff says about the state of the GOP, plus the President’s debut address at the United Nations.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  But let’s go right now to Shields and Brooks.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields, as you just saw, and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

The only thing better than seeing you guys once is seeing you guys twice, three times.

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:  Just a great…


JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, the health care story.

David, the Senate Republicans have been trying to so hard to once again resurrect an effort to repeal Obamacare.  They thought they were getting — or at least they sounded like they were getting somewhere.

But, today, John McCain throws down the red flag, says he’s not voting for it.  Where does this leave all this?

DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times:  It’s pretty grim.  Francisco Franco is still dead, to quote that old “Saturday Night Live” joke.


DAVID BROOKS:  It’s — I should say, first of all, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having state flexibility and sending the health care thing back to the states.  We’re a diverse country.  We might profit from different systems.

And there is nothing wrong with reducing the rate of increase in the cost, the amount we spend on health care.  We would spend a lot more than other countries.  Personally, I would be happy if we spend a little less on health care and a little more on education.

But the way the Republicans have done this yet again is without a deliberate process in a way that seems to have magically offended every single person outside the U.S. Capitol Building, no matter what party, and in a way that raises anxiety on every single level.

And so, it’s very easy for John McCain to say, you haven’t followed regular order, you haven’t worked with Democrats, you haven’t held hearings, and so I’m going to be against this thing.

And that’s him being very consistent with the way he’s been over the past several months.  And one would have to suspect that Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski will follow suit.  And, therefore, it’s down the tubes.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  What does it look like to you?

MARK SHIELDS:  I hate to say that I agree with David, but I agree with David.

And I would just add this.  It’s no accident, Judy, that the Republicans find themselves in this position.  It’s really since the retirement of John Chafee of Rhode Island in 1999 or David Durenberger from Minnesota in 1995, that there’s been any Republican senator who has any earned credentials or any deserved reputation for working on health care.

They have just been an against party.  That’s all.  So, who’s the sponsor of this?  Lindsey Graham.  I happen to like Lindsey Graham.  Lindsey Graham’s credentials, military, national defense.  He’s worked bipartisan on global warming, campaign finance.

Is there a — Lindsey Graham on health care?  And Bill Cassidy, who got to the Senate a year ago, not exactly a long-toothed, long-term legislator.

I mean, all they have succeeded in doing this year is taking the Affordable, which had always been controversial and never had majority support, and now has majority support in the country.  And they have convinced voters that Democrats care much more about health care than they do.

And Democrats had an advantage.  They believe in Medicare and Medicaid.  They believe in federal action.  There is no coherent Republican organizing principle or philosophy about health care.  Everybody should have it, and it should be private.

It’s an abstraction.  It doesn’t work in the real world.  And voters have concluded it doesn’t.  And Pat Roberts, to his credit, the senior senator from Kansas, said, this is not the best bill possible.  It’s the best possible bill.  And this is the last stage out of Dodge.  Because of the quirky rules of the Senate, they need 50 votes until the 30th of September, when the fiscal year ends.


MARK SHIELDS:  After that, it’s 60.  So, they’re trying to pass something.  And they won’t.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  It’s a tough moment for Republicans.

DAVID BROOKS:  They’re caught with a divide.

I do think there is a defensible case that an intelligent market-based system could reduce — cause efficiencies.  There’s models around the world that Republicans and conservative policy wonks can get to, to point to that.

But if you are going to get people to entertain the idea of some sort of reform, you have to give them universal coverage.  We’re at the point where even a lot of conservative health care economists think, if we give them universal coverage, if your get your preexisting, you’re going to have coverage, then we can work on the reforms.

But the Republican Party and the Republican Congress — congressional party — is basically out of touch with their voters.  Their voters are not libertarians.  Their voters are insecure economically and want some security.  And Medicaid and Medicare and even now Obamacare offers some of them security.  And they will not support their own Republican Party when it takes that away.

This post first appeared on Mage Soapbox, please read the originial post: here

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OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/22/2017


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