Simple Health-Care Analyses

538 has a piece saying basically that Republican health care reform is doomed because if the bill moves to the right to placate the Freedom Caucus, it will alienate moderate Republicans.

Maybe!

But this seems like a simplistic analysis.  During the last round of health care reform, the whip efforts seemed to center on the Freedom Caucus, and they basically told Trump to jump in a lake.  Note that the Freedom Caucus had enough votes in and of itself to doom the bill (and also the bill was not expected to pass the Senate).  We have to understand that when a bill is doomed, whip counts become less accurate.  The moderate Republicans who opposed the bill were not heavily whipped, and we don’t know how susceptible they are to being whipped.

It may be that if the Freedom Caucus comes into line, and the moderates go from being joiners to the opposition of an already-doomed-bill to being the people who can be squarely blamed for the bill’s failure, they will come on board their party’s bill.  In fact, we can assume that some of them certainly will.

It’s also reasonable to believe that people on the right wing of the Republican party are less susceptible to whipping than are those on the left wing.  Right wing Republican congresspeople are likely from districts that are very safely Republican, and a primary challenge from the left seems more difficult to mount than a primary challenge from the right.  As such, it’s not clear that they have much to lose by resisting the Republican party line.

In contrast, moderate Republicans are probably considerably more at risk both in the primary and general elections, and thus are more dependent on Republican party support to continue their careers.  And they may just be less ideological than those on the other extreme of their party.

Maybe a move to the right on health care will alienate as many moderates as it appeases right wingers, but that’s far from proven.  There is no reason to assume that right wingers and moderates are equal-but-opposite, or that they react to whipping in the same way.  This seems like a case where 538’s statistics-oriented analysis lacks nuance and depth.

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One thought on “Simple Health-Care Analyses

  1. Pingback: See? | Sandor at the Zoo

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