When Obamacare collapses, to whom will America look to save the day, and who will they blame for failing them?
I earlier this month I offered an opinion that Obamacare could not be repealed because the Republicans did not have the majority of votes, even though they hold the majority of seats in both the House and the Senate. And now that Speaker Ryan’s plan has been withdrawn, it appears to be even less likely a “repeal and replace” solution can be worked out, even among the Republican side.
And don’t expect any help from the Democrats on working out a deal. President Trump’s reaction to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) failure seems to be to wash his hands of healthcare and move on to other planks in his platform, and allow Obamacare to implode, citing the owning of the healthcare plan as belonging to the Democrats.
This debacle, or whatever you want to call the AHCA, unfortunately for Trump’s administration, helped in the process of shifting the blame for Obamacare away from the left to the party in power at this moment. The American public may remember the ACA was passed under Obama and the majority Democratic Congress, but most will be looking at the present government to provide them relief from soaring premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer choices of insurance plans and carriers.
Trump’s just-walk-away-from-the-deal attitude isn’t going to play well with the voters who sent him to Washington to “Make America Great Again.” They are expecting them to make their lives better, not pat himself on the back for completing another mega-deal. And now he is talking about working with the Democrats to change Obamacare for the better. Again, that is not what his ardent supporters expected him to do once in office.
But even lower than Trump’s approval ratings are those of Congress itself. The Republican representatives are becoming even more of a disappointment to the public, because they have been preaching repeal and replace for seven years, and now that they have the opportunity, they either don’t know what to do, or are not willing to do it.
That leaves most Americans wondering if they are liars or just plain incompetent. Neither of those choices gives much of a vote of confidence one would like to have when seeking re-election in 2018. And this election cycle, they will be on their own, without a strong lead-in from an anti-establishment Presidential candidate.
Dreams of a super-majority after the mid-terms are turning out to be wisps of smoke, and even retaining the Senate majority is now becoming a little “iffy,” in the minds of some analysts.
And what is the action plan for the Democrats? I suspect it is to do nothing at all. Except try to stop anything the Republicans propose, and remind their base that everyone in the Trump administration is racist, to try to re-claim any minority voters lost in the previous cycle.
And, why should they? Their ultimate goal was a governmental take-over of the health care industry, after all. If Trump walks away, and allows Obamacare to crumble on his watch, who is there to pick up the pieces and save the Americans who lose their private insurance? Uncle Sam, of course.
I doubt in the wildest dreams of the architects of the plan to go to a government-run, single-payer system did they imagine the failure of the Republican majority in Congress would be the catalyst that finally pushed their plan over the top of the mountain.
Congressional Republicans will have a chance to vote to defund payments to insurance companies that subsidize their losses under the ACA. Some argue that will hasten the demise of Obamacare, by causing most insurers to withdraw from the exchanges. Unless the GOP has something to take their place, the game is pretty much over.
Only public insurance will be left, either in a single-payer form or an expansion of Medicaid. In other words, a government take-over.
The GOP should think carefully about its next move. Checkmate is at hand.