Health Reform: President Trump's visit to Capitol Hill might have been enough to ensure that the House ObamaCare "repeal and replace" bill will get enough votes to pass. If it fails, it will be a disaster for Trump and the GOP. If it passes, it will hardly be a victory.

Trump met with House Republicans in a closed-door session to warn them that failure to pass this bill is not an option. According to some lawmakers, he told anyone thinking of voting no that "I'm going to come after you, but I know I won't have to because I know you'll vote yes."

Nevertheless, some conservatives are still opposed to the bill, and its fate remains uncertain. So the question remains: Is this high-wire act worth it, given what's in the House bill?

As we noted in this space earlier, the original House plan was a marginal improvement on ObamaCare in some parts, but kept the insurance industry mandates and regulations that caused ObamaCare to fail in the first place — minimum benefit rules and "guaranteed issue."
The GOP leadership has tweaked the bill since in an attempt to assuage both moderates and conservatives, but left that core problem intact.

For moderates, the revised bill sets aside money to increase subsidies for those over age 50, who according to the Congressional Budget Office would see their insurance costs climb under the Republican plan compared with what they get today on ObamaCare.

To appease conservatives, the tweaks include changes to the Medicaid reforms, such as the option for states to impose work requirements and opt for block grant payments, and a ban on new states expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare — which are worthwhile improvements. The revised bill also accelerates the repeal of ObamaCare's many taxes, and lowers the threshold for deducting medical expenses.

But even with these tweaks, the bill still drives the GOP further down the health reform road they had promised to get off.

What's been missing in this "replacement" plan all along is what Republican health reformers had been promising to deliver since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law seven years ago: reforms that got government out of the health care business as much as possible and that removed regulations and mandates that impeded market competition or distorted it and drove up prices.

Remember interstate insurance sales and expanding eligibility for health savings accounts? Aside from an expansion in the amount of money people can put into HSAs, those and other promised fixes are nowhere to be found in this bill.

In other words, rather than focus on reforms that would let the market work its magic to make insurance more affordable for everyone, the revised GOP plan tries to boost subsidies so older workers can better afford the overly expensive government-regulated product.

Does this get the health care system closer to where conservatives want it to be? Not really. In fact, by ceding the ground on "guaranteed issue," benefit mandates, and a penalty for not buying insurance, the House plan leaves all the infrastructure in place that a future Democratic Congress could use to reinstate, or go beyond, ObamaCare.

And this is before the replacement plan gets to the Senate, where it will certainly be watered down even more
It's almost enough to make one wonder what all the fuss is about. Why go through all the political torment of repealing ObamaCare when the replacement does so little to change the federal government's role in health care?