This is more than a bit surprising.
The American Conservative Union has long been one of the more conservative organizations in GOP politics, but in recent years some would say that the organization has drifted from their core beliefs. The most recent example came at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (the ACU organizes and hosts CPAC each year) when some in attendance argued that the conference had embraced a host of President Trump’s “unconservative” ideas (particularly on trade and spending). Now the ACU has made another move that may alienate many conservatives, they’ve decided to endorse the GOP healthcare bill that is meant to replace Obamacare but many are calling “Obamacare-lite.”
Here is what the ACU said in a press release today:
Conservatives find themselves in a difficult spot as they face the repugnance of Obamacare and the realities of passing an alternative that can win the support of majorities in both chambers.
The process of legislating is a practical exercise in which competing viewpoints get worked out. We must find a way to replace Obamacare’s centralized control of healthcare with the most free-market alternative that can pass the House and Senate.
As we approach the first step, which is the vote in the House, there are good conservative friends and allies on both sides of the debate. One reason for this is that House Leadership was disrespectful to conservative Members of Congress and conservative groups by hatching a highly complicated and controversial Obamacare replacement without collaboration and input from the conservative movement, the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
There are parts of the bill that conservatives applaud, including the bold step of defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing further support of the abortion industry with tax dollars. In addition, conservatives have demanded historic entitlement reforms in the Medicaid program through the ability to convert Medicaid funding into block grants. The repeal of the Obamacare taxes, the employer mandate, and the defanging of the individual mandate are all needed and positive changes.
As it stands, ACU believes there is a compelling enough case for the bill and conservatives should vote for it. Passing this bill will allow the legislative process and debate to continue about what additional improvements can be made. For this Congress to fail to pass an alternative would further cement Obamacare into our society, making any future plans to repeal it virtually impossible.
It is that simple and it is that perilous.