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Bipartisanship? You don’t say!



All this talk of bipartisanship is making me giddy! You have that so-called “Problem Solvers Caucus” in the House, whose co-chairman, a Republican named Tom Reed, claimed is “the last great hope for this country [to] work together.”

Well, that’s hyperbolic, but maybe he’s right. Reed represents a district in upstate New York that is swingy: he’s not a teabagger, but he was strongly in favor of “repeal and replace” until he experienced intense backlash, mainly from senior citizens, at his Town Halls. That experience seems to have made him more sober-minded: his most recent pronouncements on healthcare reform include a demand to allow pre-existing conditions to be covered, letting children remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, and non-specific appeals for “common sense health care reform” in Medicaid and Medicare.

That’s a good start. As I’ve written before, the solution to the Affordable Care Act is to fix it, not end it—and Rep. Reed is realizing that, stupid Republican boasts to the contrary, plunging ahead with insane, impossible promises made in the heat of campaigns is not the way to govern.

Reed’s co-chair in the Problem Solvers Caucus is the Democrat Josh Gottheimer, from the far northern part of the state, heavily dominated by the liberal voters of Bergen County. The idea he brings to the table is funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing, which means helping the poorest Americans afford coverage by siphoning $7 billion to insurance companies, to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.

It is that pool of money that Trump has threatened to cut off, calling it a “bailout” for insurance companies when he knows (or should know) that it’s nothing of the sort. Of course, were Trump to pull that money, it would effectively end Obamacare, or at least a large chunk of it, which is something the Obama-hating POTUS wants to do very much.

How will this current president work with the Problem Solvers Caucus? We can’t know yet, but bipartisanship appears to be blossoming in the Senate as well, where, yesterday, the Senate Health Committee surprisingly announced it will hold bipartisan hearings next month to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market,” according to the Democratic Senator, Patty Murray. That’s good news for the Affordable Care Act, whose name must remain, and good news for the country, but bad news for Trump, who prefers confrontation over conciliation because his base would rather fight than compromise. I would think this is a clear warning from Senate Republicans that they’re close to the breaking point with him. With the new scandals boiling around Donald Jr.’s fake account of his meeting with the Russians—we now know that Trump himself scripted the lie—this regime is tottering on the brink of extinction, and even the dumbest Republicans are starting to realize that—as Floyd Flake put it—they need to build “an ark” to survive the flood that is Donald J. Trump. So here’s wishing bipartisanship in Congress good luck. May Trump’s days be short, and Breitbart’s tears bitter.


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