Maybe I’m missing something here but where is the clarion call among Americans—particularly Republicans—to pass a horrific, cruel bill that hurts the poor, the elderly and give a big, fat tax cut to the richest Americans? I hear Republican House members and Senators talk about how they said they would do “repeal and replace” Obama, promised it, ran on it. But I don’t hear Americans demanding it. And it turns out, when push comes to shoving the old lady over the cliff, enough Republicans are saying, “No way!”
Do Republicans really think that because they spent the last seven years trashing Obamacare that they’ll lose reelection if they don’t do something, anything, to repeal it now that they’re running the show? That’s just stupid. But then again, so are many politicians.
The attempt to repeal and replace has been one ugly undertaking. The House squeaked out a version that yanked insurance from tens of millions of Americans. President Trump decided it was a good idea to spike the ball on the 50-yeard line. For their trouble, the Republican members of Congress later had their attempt—which was DOA in the Senate—called “mean” by the very president that begged for it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to put a deal together was no better than Trump’s (both Mitch and Donald need to reread the ghost-written Art of the Deal). Tens of millions were still going to lose insurance through a phase-out of the Medicaid expansion and the richest people in the country would make out.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Jerry Moran (Kansas) and Mike Lee (Utah) all said their constituents would suffer. Others, like Dean Heller (Nevada) were leaning against. Repeal and replace was dead and deceased.
McConnell, perhaps looking to isolate the recalcitrant Rs, said he planned a repeal now, replace later plan. That was dead in a matter of hours with three female GOP senators who were left out of any negotiations—Collins, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)—were joined by Rob Portman (Ohio) in sinking the really dumb idea.
The question is, what makes the Republicans who are willing to ditch Americans think they’d suffer if they did the right thing? The numbers don’t support it.
Regardless of how often they promised it, the plans that failed were nothing short of cruel and unusual. They weren’t healthcare bills. They were massive tax cut bills for the wealthy. Millions would have lost insurance. Seniors would have been charged as much as five times as much. Medicaid recipients would be out of luck.
Fortunately, it seems that most Republicans just didn’t give a damn if they passed a new bill or not. Which is better than the alternative explanation—that they are so beholden to their wealthy benefactors that they were willing to toss average Americans under the bus, hijack the bus and then back over them again and again.
The president neither understands the details of the bills nor does he care what gets passed, as long as something gets passed. He has no loyalty to those who stick their necks out and has no problem threatening those who dissent.
For now, humanity from a handful of Republicans prevailed.