This one had better not slip beneath Trump’s radar. The Republican Senate, staying true to form, is wobbling with the repeal.
If Obamacare is to be scrapped the impetus for its end will have to come from significant White House pressure on the Republican Senate to get it done and done right.
And there should be no question that it is in Trump’s interest for it to be torn up. If it is not Trump will have to manage this unmanageable albatross. If he is forced to run a largely untouched and failed program he will find himself diverting political capital dealing with Obamacare that he would best spend on other initiatives.
The rule the White House should keep in mind is the higher the percentage of Obamacare is repealed the freer Trump will be to act elsewhere, the lower the percentage the less free Trump will have to maneuver.
The question of how much of Obamacare the Republicans will be able to get rid of brings us to the matter of whether the Republicans will repeal only Obamacare’s taxes.
Preferably the Republicans would also repeal the regulations that go along with the ACA. However, the Senate maneuver they plan to use that will prevent a filibuster by the Democrats technically only allows the Senate bill to address taxes.
Language repealing the regulations could be appended to the bill if the Senate Parliamentarian either agrees the regulations are directly related to the taxes or, if the Parliamentarian objects to their inclusion, the Parliamentarian is fired by the Republicans and replaced with a more compliant Parliamentarian.
I recommend for two reasons repealing as much of the regulations as possible, and, if necessary, firing the Parliamentarian if he objects to this.
First, the regulations are relevant to the taxes because, as the ACA’s legal defense teams argued before the Supreme Court, Obamacare was designed so that it could not operate without the bill’s taxes. The Parliamentarian should be told that if the functioning of the law is so indivisible from its taxes then its regulations must necessarily be rescinded if its taxes are rescinded.
The second reason is that the if the Democrats were in the Republicans position they would not hesitate to fire an obstructive Parliamentarian.
Removing the Parliamentarian is something the Senate Republicans are hesitant to do. To ensure Obamacare repeal is done as swiftly as possible and to the great benefit of the Trump White House it is up to Trump and his team to make clear to Majority Leader McConnell that repealing Obamacare’s regulations is a must and that he should not hesitate to remove the Parliamentarian to ensure the Trump gets his way.