Within a few hours of the death of the Obamacare repeal-and-replacement bill in the Senate, a version of the repeal-only option appears to have died. That option represented Senator McConnell’s fallback position. Why not? Only eighteen months ago, in December 2015, Republican Senators (minus Susan Collins) voted unanimously to repeal Obamacare. They must have had their fingers crossed behind their back.
The December 2015 repeal vote in the Senate was just the latest in a long line of congressional repeal votes. The exact number is in doubt, but by any account it’s impressively large.
Repeal of Obamacare has been a Republican campaign staple since 2010. I believed the Republicans’ stated intention to repeal Obamacare in the campaigns of 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. I bought it completely. In the event, repeal has proved a humiliating farce.
Now President Trump wants it to be known that he will let Obamacare continue its death rattle. Somehow I doubt it. The humiliation may not be complete until Republicans pitch in to shore it up.
I thought it would be exceedingly difficult to repeal a welfare or an entitlement program once implemented. I badly wanted the Supreme Court to to its job and save us from ourselves when given the opportunity. It could have and should have. Obamacare was a constitutional monstrosity as enacted and uglier as implemented. I nevertheless believed that Republicans would somehow manage to make good on the promise of repeal in some form once given the opportunity.
Too soon old and too late smart. One cannot be sufficiently cynical. I vow to try harder.
UPDATE: A friend writes with a comment that amplifies my cynicism. She asks me to point out the Republicans’ apparently inserting into its suggested (now failed) and CBO-scored replacement health care bill a provision making the lawmakers and staffers exempt from whatever might replace Obamacare:
Listening to Rush today, a caller brought up a point I have been pondering regarding Obamacare and the Republican Senate’s failure to repeal & replace: why is there so little attention paid to the fact that Congress and their aides are exempt from Obamacare and whatever its replacement would be?
As a grassroots voter, that to me this the key to the failure to act to overturn Obamacare: politicians will not be receptive to the failure of a healthcare system they are exempt from. They need to feel the same pain as we, their constituents, do.
The situation is a perfect illustration of what’s wrong with Washington and the political class: an insulated elite leading a gilded existence (with lots of time off from work) in the nation’s capital, while the those out in the hinterlands are toiling away trying to make enough to pay for insanely high deductibles and overbroad insurance coverage so that their families will have access to decent healthcare. It is shameful and infuriating and reminds me of why I voted for Trump!