Republicans and the Trump administration are getting hung on Obamacare, and that lack of progress could impact the outcome of the 2018 mid-terms.
I’m sorry, conservatives, but the Affordable Care Act of 2008 is here to stay. Maybe not in its current form, but all the talk about repealing and replacing the former President’s signature legislation was just that, talk.
The only way to get rid of the act is to take a super majority in Congress after the 2018 mid-term elections, and since you have hitched your wagons to a destruction of Obamacare in 2017, there is little chance of that happening. You have managed to take the hot potato from the hands of the Democrats and grabbed it yourself, and it’s starting to burn already.
Paul Ryan’s plan may be a good one for a number of conservatives, and according to Ryan and President Trump, it’s just the start of a multi-pronged approach to providing a better alternative for health insurance to Americans. But, even members of your own party strongly object the legislation doesn’t go far enough to achieve the promises made by Trump and many other candidates during the campaign. And it surely won’t have any support from the Democrats.
Even if it passes the House, it will likely fail in the Senate, where the Republican majority is thinner, and contains some of the party’s most harsh critics of the Trump administration’s policies.
But here is the big deal. US history has shown that once something is given from the government to the American public, it is next to impossible to take it back. That bears out across most government programs, starting with the New Deal of the FDR era, and continues today.
See, most in Congress fear not being re-elected more than anything else, and when you start trying to repeal legislation that has provided a benefit or an entitlement to some of their constituents, their ideology takes a back seat to the loss of possible votes.
A number of politicians are now on the hump between failing to pacify their base conservative voters by not completely repealing the Act, and alienating the moderates by proposing a plan that may cost them subsidized insurance coverage. A fine tightrope to walk for sure.
While Obamacare was the foremost issue for a portion of the party’s followers, tax reform, Supreme Court appointments, and growing the economy was higher on the list for a large number of voters that were swayed towards the right in the last election.
Getting bogged down with a partial replacement for Obamacare hampers efforts in those other areas, particularly tax reform, due to the complex taxes and fees hidden in the legislation. It looks as if the Gorsuch nomination to the court will probably happen, but not after much mudslinging by the Democrats, pushing any real legislative efforts even further back in the year.
The Republicans running for re-election in 2018 are facing the possibility of becoming the face of the “do-nothing” party that failed to live up to their promises in the 2016 campaign, and squandering the political capital that came with the push to “drain the swamp.”
If failing to accomplish anything on Obamacare is accompanied by a slow economic growth in 2017 and the first part of 2018, and little progress on tax reform, voters will start to view the new administration as not so much different as previous ones. Those voters will react in a similar fashion to those who failed to see hope and change from the previous administration and vote accordingly.
That’s the funny thing about political capital. It can be gone in the blink of an eye. Republicans need to cut back on smiling promises and start to show some actual progress. If not, some of those gains in Congressional seats from the past years may be taken back by Democrats in 2018, allowing Obamacare to remain mostly intact, likely eventually resulting in a government takeover of the insurance industry.