GOP Health Care Failure Will Be Owned by McConnell
Whether by inaction or cave to Democrats, Senate majority leader may face revolt over Obamacare debacle
The Senate Democrats can’t save Obamacare. After the anti-Obamacare wave elections of 2010, 2014, and 2106, the power to protect it was finally wrenched from their hands. They can call attempts to fix the crumbling legislation “mean,” they can wax hyperbolic with made-up death tolls on the Sunday shows, and they can spam their supporters with doom-and-gloom, the-end-is-near, Voldemort-is-back talking points, but they can’t save it.
Imagine how pleased they’ll be if Senate Republicans save Obamacare for them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is warning the GOP Senate bill might be doomed and a zero-repeal compromise with Democrats might be imminent, saying, “If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur.”
After a recess filled with GOP senators delivering pessimism back to their home states, a delay on next week’s vote, and growing GOP opposition, this bill will not recover from its tailspin. It’s dead in the water. This leaves Republican voters across the country to ask, “How could the GOP fail at something they’ve been promising for the better part of a decade? How could they blow an issue as simple as repealing Obamacare?”
If Obamacare were a children's book, it would be "The Little Socialist Takeover That Could" because it keeps chug-chug-chugging up Capitol Hill with no regard for the will of American voters. "I think I can," said Obamacare as it chugged past Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. "I think I can," it said as it chugged past negative opinion polls. "I think I can," it said as it chugged past the worst website rollout in human history, the 2010 anti-Obamacare midterms, the Supreme Court, the 2014 anti-Obamacare midterms, and all the ceremonial full-repeal bills the House passed.
The bill broke Obama's promise not to hike taxes on the middle class, it broke his "lie of the year" promise that you can keep your doctor and your plan. One of the architects of the bill admitted it was "written in a tortured way" to fool the CBO and that it relied on "the stupidity of the American voter."
Now it seems that it will survive ever-rising premiums, a crumbling insurance market, an election that handed every branch of government to Republicans, and President Trump's loud-and-clear, 306 electoral vote, anti-Obamacare mandate.
It was the first big item on the legislative agenda because it should have been easy. Obamacare should already be sleeping with the fishes. From the neocons to the libertarian-minded to the Tea Partiers, Obamacare opposition has been the glue that held the Republican Party together.
So what happened? The Senate bill got stuck in the swamp sludge, and Senate Republicans are paying the price for their failure to repeal and replace Mitch McConnell as their Senate leader. Make no mistake, the Senate GOP bill's multifaceted failure is drenched in McConnell's swamp-sludge fingerprints.
McConnell gift-wrapped talking points for the Democrats by employing an asinine, rightly maligned process for creating the bill, and, as a result of that secretive process, we wound up with a bill that focuses more on helping insurance companies than on helping the middle-class families struggling under the Obamacare burden.
Without Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) amendment, the Senate GOP bill won't lower premiums on middle-class families because every single plan on the exchanges will still be required to cover what Obamacare defines as "essential health benefits." It's like going to a car lot that only sells Ferraris and trying to figure out how you can score a low monthly payment. Spoiler alert: You can't. What Cruz is proposing should already be in the bill, so why isn't it? Simple. Mitch McConnell.
A quick browse through McConnell's campaign purse makes his priorities in the health care battle crystal clear. His priorities aren't middle-class John and Jane Q. Taxpayer — they're Humana Inc., Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Metlife Inc., and a couple of Fortune 500 health care companies that, all combined, have spent nearly half a million dollars to keep McConnell in office. See, if you're a working-class American shouldering the burden of Obamacare, then you probably didn't donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to get Mitch McConnell elected, but if you're the health care industry, you did. (go to page 2 to continue reading)