Conservatives reacted with mixed feelings on Tuesday after the Senate Republicans botched an attempt to finally, at long last, repeal Obamacare. But after a second “Hail Mary” attempt appeared dead, the rage began to flow as they realized the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, may never be repealed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hopes to embarrass some senators who voted for “clean repeal” in 2015, but some of those senators have already said they won’t vote the same way they did in 2015. It’s a long shot but it looks doomed, and it reeks of desperation.
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House Speaker Paul Ryan managed the bill out of the House. As Tuesday unfolded, reality began to sink in, from the White House to the red counties throughout the nation: that the second-biggest Republican promise in history, after abolition, would be broken, and by senators.
“If GOP senators wish not to squander their majority, they will work in good faith to fully repeal Obamacare, as they promised time and time again.”
It was even worse than that. Some Republican congressmen whispered to reporters at large mainstream media outlets such as The Washington Post that they never intended to repeal Obamacare, they just wanted to vote against it without the consequences.
Also missing amid the debate was talk of the $20 trillion national debt. Obamacare is not cheap, and the Medicaid expansion will now continue to make balancing the annual budget almost impossible in the next decade.
Conservatives and Trump supporters were merciless in attacking the Senate Republicans.
“The hypocrisy is breathtaking,” said Jeffrey Lord, a former official in President Ronald Reagan’s administration and one of President Donald Trump’s top defenders at CNN, in an email to LifeZette. “This is a perfect example of what Margaret Thatcher called the ‘socialist ratchet’: defined as the Left running the government and taking it far left. When [the Left] loses, Conservatives sit and manage what the Left did. Then they lose and the cycle repeats, with the government continually ratcheting left. Obama did this, and the gutless GOP has accepted it. Shameful.”
Others predicted great damage in the 2018 midterm elections.
“If GOP senators wish not to squander their majority, they will work in good faith to fully repeal Obamacare, as they promised time and time again,” tweeted Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Others noted the years that the GOP had to work on a plan.
“Republicans have had seven years to craft a better health care plan. A failure to implement will put wind in Democrats’ sails come the midterms,” said Adriana Cohen, a columnist for BostonHerald.com and a talk show host. “With a majority in the House and Senate, and the White House, there’s simply no excuse for not passing a better health care plan.”
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Technically, the Senate can raise the issue again anytime from now through the end of 2018. But the issues of Medicaid cuts and kicking people off mandated insurance policies spooked several Republicans.
The Republicans only have a two-vote majority in the Senate. They lost Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) immediately. Collins, a liberal, never supported repeal.
The GOP then lost Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Alaska has high medical costs, and Murkowski also objected to cutting Planned Parenthood funding. And then Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) bolted on Monday night, shocking Trump, who was dining at the White House with other senators.
Lee, a conservative, was not too much of a surprise. He wanted more deregulation in the repeal bill. But Moran’s defection was a shock — he boasted he was the first congressman to call for Obamacare repeal in 2011. He may now be the final nail in the coffin of repeal.
Moran was so shaken by the reaction, he crossed the Senate’s rail tracks for its underground tram rather than face a large group of reporters.
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Neither Moran nor Senate Republicans will be able to outrun the political outrage, some say.
“These Republican senators are going to own Obamacare,” said Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College. “They failed the middle class, big time. Mitch McConnell blew it big time. He put together the Blue Cross-Blue Shield dream team to draft the first bill, which was overflowing with swamp sludge. He failed to get Republicans on board with something they’ve been ‘broken-record’ promising for years.”
Zipperer told LifeZette that McConnell should step down as GOP Senate leader.