Republican leaders made a fundamental mistake on health care over the last seven years: They imagined that the American people had a much more libertarian view than they in fact did.
|Americans generally aren’t in favor of denying health insurance — and, by extension, medical care — to their fellow citizens. And once Obamacare had become law and made insurance coverage much closer to universal, Americans weren’t interested in Congressional bills that erased that coverage.|
|This support for health insurance isn’t the only way that American voters are anti-libertarian on health care, either. Polls show that voters, of both parties, support government-provided insurance, and not just bare-bones government plans.|
|“Polls consistently showed that the percentage of those who liked Obamacare or wanted it to be more generous dwarfed the percentage of those who wanted to scrap it,” as the conservative Jennifer Rubin wrote this weekend in The Washington Post. “There is not a large constituency for minimalist federal government, no matter how fervently the speaker of the House pines for defederalized Medicaid.”|
|In the aftermath of the Republicans’ health care crack-up last week, I think the party may be laying the groundwork for another big, long-term defeat on the same issue. That’s the subject of my column this morning.|
|The Trump administration has sent signals that it may now try to undermine Obamacare through administrative actions. Those signals include tweets from the president and an early bureaucratic move by his administration. If they do so, I think the administration may succeed in damaging Obamacare’s private insurance markets — and, perversely, pushing more Americans into government plans.|
|Read the column“Republicans for Single-Payer Health Care.”|