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Democrats yelp as Trump upholds Constitution

Michael Barone on

Democrats are bridling at these demands, and mainstream media quickly declared any deal impossible. But polls show that most are highly popular, and Democrats can't pass legislation by themselves.

Trump's list is obviously an opening move in a negotiation, so the question is whether Democrats are willing to negotiate.

Trump's decision to follow the Constitution on CSRs raises the possibility of short-term hurt for some insurers and higher premiums for non-subsidized people with health insurance. Other proposals he has told his appointees to explore, such as expanding the Obama-imposed three-month limit for short-term insurance policies with less coverage than Obamacare requires, might help.

On Monday, Trump encouraged compromise efforts by Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray. But when the senators agreed on a plan to appropriate CSR payments, though he originally said nice things about it, he rejected it Tuesday. So did House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Democrats have naturally complained that Republicans, having failed to repeal or replace Obamacare, are trying to wreck it. There's some basis for that, but one could also say it's Democrats' own fault because they passed Obamacare in a form even they knew was flawed.

After it passed, as Bloomberg's Megan McArdle writes, Obama resorted to "dubious executive measures that temporarily shored up the program, but weakened even further the slim foundations of political legitimacy that held it up. And here we are seven years later, watching as one by one, those supports sway or snap."

One lesson: It's hard to make complex one-size-fits-all laws work. Another: If you don't obey the law, even the cleverest lawyers may not be able to keep you out of trouble.

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Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News and World Report. Distibuted by Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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