Why did it take a Democratic controlled house and senate along with a Democrat president to pass a Republican health bill?
I dunno. I would guess a shift in priorities? The neocons didn't give a rat's ass about social programs. They were all about tax breaks for the rich, shifting public money to private corporations, starting wars and restoring the office of president to pre-Nixon power. They would dismantle social security, medicare, welfare, the whole thing, if given the opportunity. Recall, bush's first priority after his re-election "mandate" was to try to privatize Social Security.
On top of that, the 1996 health care analysis you linked mentioned that by time things got rolling, the opposition was inconsolable. The repubs and insurance industry opposed everything
, even compromises they originally agreed too.
Plus, despite people saying there is no difference between the parties, there actually is a difference between the parties. Democrats actually care about helping people. repubs say they are cynical attempts to ingratiate voting demographics, but that is because repubs are such selfish pricks they cannot imagine doing something so altruistic just for the good of it. Doing things solely to capture power is their MO and they cannot imagine the dems being different.