Despite President Trump's prediction, there will be no comprehensive bipartisan solution to healthcare reform.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "Based on the fact that the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate has been terminated as part of our Tax Cut Bill, which essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare, the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!"
Based on the fact that the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate has been terminated as part of our Tax Cut Bill, which essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare, the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2017
Congress may be able to find bipartisan tweaks to the many problems plaguing our healthcare system (consider, for instance, the Alexander-Murray bill), but any legislation bringing Democrats and Republicans together on "a great new HealthCare plan" is just about impossible.
Recall how Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., revealed in September that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer "negotiated" by telling Republicans, "Don't even come in the room until you take repeal [of Obamacare] off the table."
As I wrote earlier this year, Republicans want less government, Democrats want more. Substantive reforms cannot do both. If lawmakers wish to pass substantive reforms, and the argument that it's necessary to do so is sound, they must realize they will not be able to find enough common ground to proceed, even now with repeal of the individual mandate. No policy crisis is big enough to bridge the ideological gap between Democrats and Republicans.
As our healthcare system's struggles worsen, the president is certainly right that Congress will be forced back to the negotiating table.
But any hopes of lawmakers crafting a "great new HealthCare plan" with serious bipartisan support are misplaced. Whatever solutions ultimately pass will either be on a smaller scale or determined entirely by the party in control.