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David Frum: GOP Healthcare Crash Threatens Paul Ryan’s Hold on Speakership

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The failed rollout of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s unpopular healthcare bill has weakened his hold on the Speakership, and could cause his replacement, says David Frum, a GOP-leaning author, a champion for pro-American immigration and labor policies, and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

The prediction came in an evening Tweet from Frum, who is now a columnist for The Atlantic magazine.

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Growing GOP opposition in the Senate to the Ryan-backed American Health Care Act also leaves Ryan even more exposed, Frum suggested.

In a March 13 article for The Atlantic, Frum argues that Ryan’s libertarian ideology is losing clout as the GOP’s base is gradually shifting to endorse government help for lower-income Americans who trying to pay for their increasingly expensive healthcare.

The basis of the Republican opposition to Obamacare has gradually shifted over the past seven years. Ryan’s position—let people go uninsured if they will not or cannot pay the price of insurance—has become increasingly rare, or at least increasingly rarely articulated. Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and the presidency by promising more coverage, not less. Trump did it again at his healthcare photo op on Monday: “You’ll see rates go down, down, down, and you’ll see plans go up, up, up,” he said. “You’ll have a lot of choices. You’ll have plans that nobody’s even thinking of today. They will have plans that today nobody has even thought about because the market’s going to import that with millions and millions of people wanting health care.”

… while most Republicans still reject the idea that government should ensure health coverage for all, 52 percent of Republicans with incomes below $30,000 now say that it should. Among middle-income Republicans—earning $30,000 to $75,000—the share who favor a government guarantee has jumped 20 points in less than 12 months, to 34 percent.

Trump has long argued against the GOP leaders’ libertarian viewpoint, and especially against Ryan’s closed-door push for a high-immigration, low-wage, cheap-labor national economic strategy.

In a series of subsequent Tweets on Monday, Frum also nailed the GOP’s libertarian leadership for failing to recognize the latent public demand for government help amid rising healthcare costs, and for not using their political clout to negotiate a pro-market, lower-cost healthcare system with President Barack Obama in 2010.

 


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