Note to Trump: Be right, not just fast

Will Sanders work with Trump on health care?
Will Sanders work with Trump on health care?


    Will Sanders work with Trump on health care?


Will Sanders work with Trump on health care? 01:25

Story highlights

  • Alice Stewart: I commend President Trump for quickly taking steps to follow through on campaign promises -- but being fast is not enough
  • Stewart says she hopes the administration re-visits health care -- with input from all voices in the GOP and even Democrats

Alice Stewart is a CNN Political Commentator and former Communications Director for Ted Cruz for President. The views expressed in this commentary are solely her own.

(CNN)Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? After years of conservative voices falling on deaf ears among the GOP establishment in Washington, principled conservatives, such as those in the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), managed to blunt President Trump's initial stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Alice Stewart
Look, I fully commend President Trump for quickly taking steps to follow through on campaign promises, such as: repealing and replacing Obamacare, building the wall, reforming taxes, and nominating a Scalia-like justice to the Supreme Court. I applaud the speed at which he set much of this into motion.
But it's also important to get it right, not just fast.
    In the short term, rather than dwell on this temporary health care setback, President Trump should focus on positives, like his plan to reform taxes. His goal to provide the middle-class tax cut would unite Republicans and Democrats.
    He will, for now, have to focus on achievable wins. The eventual confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court will be a massive victory for President Trump. Not to mention the president's ability to fill up the many circuit court vacancies with Gorsuch-style judges.
    The president's executive order to strengthen the nation's energy security is another important step in reducing unnecessary regulatory obstacles. President Trump believes the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan restricts the responsible of our vast energy resources. Despite the criticism from those on the left, the current administration aims to bring about clean air and clean water, alongside strong economic growth and job creation.
    Now, in the long term, we will actually need to fix our nation's health care system.
    Amidst all the finger pointing, tweet-shaming and armchair quarterbacking of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) failure, there's no denying that it showed the strength of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
    In the hours leading up to the AHCA vote, top White House officials were pulling out all the stops to sway conservative House members from a "no" vote to a "yes" vote. At the same time, these members were getting texts, calls and emails from constituents, asking them to stand firm, and honor their promises for lower premiums and patient-centered care. And stand firm, they did.
    The conservative group, Club for Growth, argued that "conservatives saved Republicans from voting for their own version of Obamacare."
    On the GOP flip side, many who supported Trump's health care bill say a handful of members let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said, "This is not a failure of leadership; it's a failure of followship."
    The administration attributes the failure, in part, to House Democrats who were not willing to put politics aside and make our healthcare system better. But the reality is that the GOP divide between moderate Republicans in The Tuesday Group and more conservative members of the HFC was too much to overcome.
    Let's face it: Trumo's health care bill faced an uphill battle from the start. The only thing with lower approval ratings than President Trump at 39% and Congress at 28% in recent Gallop Polls, was the AHCA with 17% approval in a recent Quinnipiac poll.
    Fundamentally, the issue with passing AHCA stemmed from the fact that conservative Republicans had campaigned for years on repealing and replacing Obamacare and bringing about lower health care premiums and greater choices. Those opposed to AHCA simply didn't believe the bill achieved those promises.
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) admits the problem with AHCA was the bill and the process, but he said, "We don't have a choice. We have to re-visit it."
    To say the least, the process has been a teachable moment. The GOP establishment crafting and drafting the bill in secret and then expecting it to pass in 18 days will not work. While Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, the party is a house divided. And our health care system is a house of cards -- teetering under the weight of Obamacare.
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    For the sake of the country, I hope the administration re-visits health care with input from all voices in the GOP and even Democrats. As President Trump so artfully says, "What the hell do you have to lose?"