How the incoming Trump administration handles health care policy is perhaps the most consequential question hanging over the nation’s budgetary outlook.
That’s why policy analysts are scrambling to read the tea leaves on health care amid conflicting signals. Republicans seem to have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brakes.
For example, recent developments have led to intense speculation on whether the new administration will rapidly work to reform Medicare. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump was adamant that he would not touch the program other than by cutting waste, fraud and abuse. However, his selection of a strong Medicare reform advocate, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), to become secretary of Health and Human Services raises the prospect that something more might be contemplated.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, another strong advocate of Medicare reform, has indicated that he is still planning to push the issue soon, even as senior Senate Republicans have voiced caution.
So it is understandable if some confusion has arisen as to the direction and pace of Medicare reform.
But the tension between speed and deliberation is best exemplified by the congressional Republicans’ developing strategy for delivering on their campaign promise to “repeal and...