Weekly Toon …

And here we thought Obamacare was in a death spiral ...

Our toon this week comes from Mike Peters, perhaps best known for his comic strip Grimmy. Peters is also a Pulitizer-prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Dayton Daily News and you can find more of his editorial work here.

It may have been a bitter personal defeat for Paul Ryan, The Flimflam Man, but whether the decision of House Republicans to pull their so-called healthcare bill will prove to be a good or bad thing for the rest of us remains to be seen.

Certainly the passage of the bill would have been a very bad thing indeed. It would have left 24 million more Americans uninsured within a decade, 14 million next year alone. It would have raised deductibles for millions more — and the savings would’ve gone to pay for tax cuts for millionaires.

It broke Donald Trump’s campaign promises, “insurance for everybody” among others, and was opposed by nearly every serious conservative health care analyst. As David Brooks put it: “It was written by elites to serve the needs of elites.”

But Paul Ryan was having none of it. What Ryan said after the bill was withdrawn on Friday was that “I’m really proud of the bill we produced. It would make a dramatic improvement in our health care system.”

Really, Paul? Ayn Rand would be so proud of her mean-spirited little acolyte!

It was a bad bill and it kept getting worse and more cynical as Ryan made one concession after another trying to round up the votes to pass it. By the end, even the deficit reduction Ryan touted had been cut in half without reducing the number of people who would have lost their insurance.

Like I said, however, what happens now remains to be seen. No one ever claimed that the Affordable Care Act is perfect. There are problems that need to be fixed and could be fixed if Republicans are prepared to work with Democrats to do so.

That’s the course being recommended by the Washington Post. Alternatively, the Republicans may use what happened as an excuse to actively subvert and undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Sadly, there’s already evidence that’s what they have in store for the program. The Trump administration has already taken several measures certain to depress enrollment in Obamacare, which is exactly the opposite pf what needs to happen for success.

The White House also issued an executive order and took other actions that strongly implied it would no longer enforce the “individual mandate” requiring people to sign up for coverage, a provision designed to get younger people to enroll in order to help spread the risk health insurers face across a wider audience.

That’s a violation of the law, of course, but Trump has never been a stickler about upholding the law. Obeying the law is only for chumps like you and me.

And certainly neither Ryan nor Trump offered olive branches to Democrats after their legislative debacle. Ultimately what they’ll have to decide, as this article explains in more detail, is whether they want to improve things for ordinary Americans or continue playing partisan politics.

The odds they’ll opt for the latter are looking better all the time.

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