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Republicans Lose, Bigly

The Republicans have been trying to repeal Obamacare for seven years. While Obama was president, they passed bills over 50 times repealing the ACA, only to have them vetoed by the president (or die in the Senate). Back then, that was easy because they knew it wouldn’t ever become effective, so they would not have to suffer the blowback from 25 million people losing their health care.

But now, the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House, and they failed. Wasn’t even that close. It was so bad, they didn’t even dare bring it up for a vote.

Of course, immediately afterward Trump tried to blame the Democrats because none of them voted for a bill that would dismantle one of Obama’s greatest achievements:

Seriously? Is he saying he expected Democrats to vote for a bill that would take away health care from 25 million people and was deeply unpopular with Americans (even the Fox News poll showed opposition of 54% to 34%). If so, he really is insane.

The real truth is that the repeal failed because the House Freedom Caucus didn’t think the new bill was cruel enough. At the last moment, they talked Trump into adding a provision to the bill that would make it so that health insurance would not have to cover essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, emergency room visits, outpatient care, laboratory services, and even hospitalization. That just made Republicans from moderate districts realize that they would certainly lose reelection and drop the bill.

One reason the bill was so unpopular was that Donald Trump promised repeatedly that his Obamacare replacement plan would provide “insurance for everybody” and would lower the cost of insurance (for example, by allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with drug companies). He also promised that he would not cut Medicaid. Trump said his replacement would provide “great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.” But this bill was none of those things.

The lies don’t stop there. Trump promised that he was the ultimate deal-maker. Instead, he ended up looking incompetent.

This might look like a big victory for the Democrats, but it isn’t over. Trump claims that Obamacare is in a “death spiral” and that when it fails on its own, the Democrats will be to blame. First of all, according to fact checkers, the ACA is not in a death spiral. Yes, there are many things that could be done to improve the ACA, but this is not unusual. Medicare required decades of improvement to get to where it is today. Indeed, the Republicans even added prescription drug coverage under Dubya, although the ACA had to fix the big “donut hole” problem with that.

The problem is that Republicans will not allow any improvements to the ACA. In addition, there are many ways that Tom Price, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, can sabotage the ACA and make it worse. After all, the Republicans sued the government to try to kill the ACA, and (as a direct result of one such suit) 19 Republican-controlled states refused to expand Medicaid, resulting in millions of people not getting health insurance.

I predict that this is their plan. Sabotage Obamacare so that costs rise dramatically, so they can repeal it later. Unless we are vigilant, that might work.



  1. Jonah wrote:

    Even trump’s most ardent supporters should be aghast at his statements about waiting for the ACA to implode. People are going to get hurt. That the president of the US is ok with this is outrageous. I hope everyone writes to their congressman and ensures he/she will try to do whatever they can to “fix” the flaws of the ACA. And the democrats are not at fault. There was a simple reason they didn’t support trumpcare. It insured less people than obamacare despite trump promising it would insure more.

    The republicans blew up the country between 2000-2008 and they are threatening to do it again. WTF will it take people to realize most of these guys (and they are mostly guys) are in it for themselves?

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 2:24 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    How many deaths before and in his first two months because of the white supremacist idea? Last one in NYC. Young veteran white terrorist from Maryland traveled to NYC to kill black people. And the person he killed was self sufficient and very beloved.

    Baby Bush is still killing 20-30 today in the mess he started.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:43 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I am more disappointed in the republican congress then the President. They have voted to repeal Obamacare care IDK, 40 times, in the last 6-7 years. They said there was a plan and replacement ready for years and this is what they handed Trump to sell? Holy C$@P! The voters should make all the empty headed mouthpieces who complain without a solution pack their bags and leave. Better yet lets impose term limits and make them all return to the work force with the rest of us.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:45 am | Permalink
  4. Lew wrote:

    What is the real point of getting rid of the affordable care act?
    What don’t they get if they just tinkered to improve the aca?
    One, it will still be known as Obamacare… And one of their goals is to remove his name from health care and reduce the stature of his presidency… His success is directly related to their failure…
    Two, the changes, as we’ve seen in their Asinine Wealthy Care Act, would push for reduced services and reduce their “tax” and put the burden on those over sixty… And that would show what greedy bastards they really are…

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink
  5. Wildwood wrote:

    I forget the exact comment from Gingrich a couple of months ago, but basically gleeful that Repubs now were in a position to finally get rid of all the programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which has been a goal since Roosevelt was in office. Replacing the ACA was never truly a goal. Destroying all those programs was and is the goal. I wish I had kept track of that quote. It would make a great TV ad for any Dem running for office.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink
  6. redjon wrote:

    Without a Republican president to snipe at, the GOP Congress is reduced to sniping at each other and proving that even when they are in total charge, they are the party of, “No.”

    No willingness to make improvements to the ACA as needed, no solutions to much of anything, and very little ability even after seven YEARS to write effective legislation that even the Democrats (if everybody is doing their job) should be able to get behind. Maybe because they didn’t have ALEC there to write the legislation, but we know they’d still have no Democratic votes if that was the case.

    So the Democrats will be blamed for Obamacare… the way FDR is still blamed for the implementation of Social Security or Dick Nixon blamed for the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

    I predict that, the Ryan Congress, like the Boehner Congress before him and the Trump presidency, is not going to go down in history for having done ANYTHING especially worthwhile for the American people.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  7. Jennifer wrote:

    Wildwood – are you referring to this story from December 2016:

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  8. Max wrote:

    The great Republican achievement is to finally make Obamacare popular!

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  9. Hassan wrote:

    I want to take away health insurance from 300+ million Americans. I feel no regret in saying that. Let the insurance companies collapse to rubble.

    For people, medicaid for all.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Don’t hold back Hassan. Tell us how you really feel! 🙂

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  11. Wildwood wrote:

    Thanks Jennifer. That’s not the same one I saw but certainly tha same idea. I think if ads were broadcast with those comments that it might wake some people up.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  12. Jonah wrote:

    Maher on those who think its not trumps fault

    BI on trumps deal making abilities

    Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2:36 am | Permalink
  13. westomoon wrote:

    Here’s an interesting perspective from the WaPo’s Wonkblog — it’s possible that health-care was just a beard, a mechanism to provide the fiscal cover for a giant two-stage tax cut for the rich. That would go a long way toward explaining why only the fringes of the R Congress cared what was in their bill.

    Take a look:

    Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

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