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Cramer is skeptical about the GOP tax plan's chances of passage; here's how to play it

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer shares the unexpected way he thinks investors should interpret the GOP's push for tax reform.
  • Cramer says that having Republicans in Washington doesn't mean the stock market will necessarily be more lucrative.
  • So far, the best way Cramer finds to play tax reform is by finding the stocks that will rally if it doesn't pass.

Wall Street is grappling with the latest news on the GOP's sweeping tax system overhaul, but CNBC's Jim Cramer isn't convinced that reform will be a boon for the stock market.

"Now the Republicans are in charge, and I think part of the confusion here about us and Washington is that some investors believe the people running things really care about the market as a tremendous wealth creator and a barometer of how they're doing," the "Mad Money" host said. "It's not true."

After the Republican-led push to repeal and replace Obamacare failed a third time, Cramer found it hard to believe that tax reform would be much easier to pass.

But to use Washington's back-and-forth as an investing lesson, Cramer brought up the stock of Centene, the government-sponsored health care giant that was most sensitive to the "repeal and replace" mission. Shares of Centene are up nearly 70 percent for the year.

"When you're investing your hard-earned dollars you need to know who to bet on and who to bet against," Cramer said. "Centene was the single best way to profit from a bet that repeal and replace would fall apart and the current system would stay the course."

The "Mad Money" host specifically criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan for attacking Obamacare for years and portraying the effort to repeal and replace it as a sure thing.

On Thursday, the speaker echoed that sentiment about tax reform, saying the GOP could get it done in 2017.

"Look, I'd love some tax reform. I want more competitive corporate rates. I want repatriation. I want there to be a middle class tax break," Cramer said. "But, to me, Ryan set us all up for total failure once again."

Cramer said it was far too bullish of the speaker to suggest such a widespread overhaul could be completed by the end of the year, particularly with few details, a lack of support from congressional Democrats and waning enthusiasm from some more fiscally conservative Republicans.

"Once again, investment decisions made based on this charade are going to backfire," Cramer said. "So my first conclusion? You may like tax reform. You may think it should matter to your investment strategy. But I'm saying that I'm on the hunt for the next set of Centenes, the stocks that will do best with no tax reform because the Republican leadership has over-promised and are now likely to under-deliver in their own special way."

WATCH: Cramer errs his tax reform concerns

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