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Megan McArdle

RIP, Repeal and Replace

Obamacare is still broken, but it is safe for now from irresponsible tweaks.
The man of the hour.

The man of the hour.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

History is said to repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. In the case of the Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, last night was the low comedy portion of the proceedings.

Though truthfully, the whole process reads less like a saga than a Christopher Buckley novel. You have a neophyte president who doesn’t know how Washington works, and doesn’t care to learn, and therefore provides none of the leadership that is normally necessary to get a major policy bill through Congress. You have a Republican caucus that spent six years promising to repeal Obamacare without bothering to make plans for, or get a consensus on, how they would actually do so. And thus we were repeatedly treated to the incredible sight of bills that literally no one in the legislature actually wanted, even as they were voting to move them forward. The only way people could bring themselves to cast that “Aye” was by nervously assuring each other that somewhere down the line, someone would come to their senses and stop this thing from actually becoming the law of the land -- the Senate, or the conference committee, or in the most desperate scenario, perhaps the president could … well, I’m sure the conference committee will come up with something we can actually like.