One of the amazing things about the present political moment is that the GOP obsession over Obamacare seems to have abated. It barely came up in last week’s debate and “Happy Hour” forum. It’s not even clear “defunding Obamacare” remains in the top five conservative reasons for shutting down the federal government. The idea that Republicans are going to be able to unite over, much less get set on fire by, any particular “replacement” proposal is long since passed. And there’s no longer the impetus for dealing with this once supplied by King v. Burwell, when it looked like SCOTUS might force a reckoning. You kinda get the sense most Republicans have decided to just see if they can manage to win in 2016 and then deal with it then.
And yet: here’s Scott Walker at National Review telling a desperately waiting world that he’s about to roll out an Obama replacement plan. According to Bloomberg Politics’ Greg Sullivan, this will happen next Tuesday in Minnesota.
Nothing in Walker’s rap at NRO suggests he has any bold new health care ideas. It sounds like he’ll endorse the usual conservative mix of individual tax credits, “devolving” Medicaid, a high-risk pool for sick folks, and the dumbest idea of them all, interstate insurance sales without federal regulation. So you have to wonder why he’s doing this right now. Is it a box being checked on some Master Plan? Is he worried about continued suggestions that’s he’s about as deep as a pizza pan? Is his team just trying to make news in the wake of a poll showing him running behind two crazy people in Iowa? Is some big donor nagging him to do this?
I dunno. But you get the sense it was planned a good while ago. And maybe it’s actually a sign of political savvy that he’s releasing his health care plan in Minnesota rather than in the fried-food paradise of the Iowa State Fair.