The GOP has a new health-care plan. And it's somehow even worse than before.

Because it went so well the first time, the GOP is taking another whack at health care

Trump's lead trial balloon?
(Image credit: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

When House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump tried to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, they found themselves under assault from two directions. On one side, their bill was spectacularly unpopular with the public at large, mostly because it would have tossed tens of millions of Americans off their health coverage and made everyone else's coverage less secure (one poll found the GOP's American Health Care Act supported by only 17 percent of the public). On the other side, the House Freedom Caucus — a collection of the most extreme conservatives in Congress — was angry that the bill wasn't nearly as harsh as they might like.

When the bill died, more than a few Republicans breathed a private sigh of relief. The debate had taught them not only that reforming health care is extraordinarily complex and can require months or even years to do properly (or in President Trump's immortal words, "nobody knew that health care could be so complicated"), but also that their vision of a health-care system guided less by security and more by "freedom" and "choice" turns out not to be what the public actually wants. Perhaps it would be best if they just left it alone and moved on to issues like tax reform, which they care more about anyway.

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