In the end it was the GOP establishment that lost the battle to repeal Obamacare.
President Donald Trump is mad after watching the Senate Republicans fail to get enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), something the Republican party has promised their supporters for the past seven years. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), failed to get just 50 votes to pass the most stripped down bill possible aimed at just moving the process to the next step.
Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the three votes who stopped the repealing of the ACA. It also marked the end of the 50 vote “Reconciliation Process,” as McCain, Collins, and Murkowski has made it clear that they want to return to “Regular Order,” where they want to open the process for a bi-partisan bill, that includes open hearings, medical expert testimony and the repairing of the law of the land the ACA.
There are now between eight and 12 members of the Senate who have no interest in moving through another health care through reconciliation. They are on the record as voting to repeal Obamacare and that is good enough for them.
Despite President Trump’s anger over the defeat of the repealing and replacement of Obamacare. It is time to move on because, the White House failed to turn McCain, Collins, and Murkowski, who clearly has no interest in repealing or replacing the ACA.
How did we get here?
Back in late February when the White House was planning what to do with the repealing and replacing of the ACA, President Trump was given bad advice on two key points that led to last Friday’s crushing defeat in the Senate.
Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, one of the most Conservative voices of the establishment Republicans and White House Chief of Staff Priebus convinced Trump, that they could get wins in the House and the Senate. The GOP establishment duo told the president that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell had solid plans in place to kill Obamacare, once and for all.
Speaker Ryan, a long time budget hawk, took a plan that he had proposed, added some things offered in a complimentary bill once offered by Georgia Congressman Tom Price, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Those two plans served as the ultra-conservative template that would end up being called American Health Care Act, which passed the House with just enough 218 votes, all Republicans, and that moved the bill on to the Senate.
The AHCA was not what candidate Trump campaigned on and it is why the president called the bill (once he read it) “mean.” Throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign, candidate Trump, offered many things he wanted to see in a ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill looked nothing like the House bill.
Trump, was assured by Senate Majority Leader McConnell that there would be a more comprehensive bill.
McConnell, despite putting together a group of 13 Senators to craft the bill he ended up turning the task over to the Senate staff. The drama of keeping the bill away from other members of the Republican upper chamber, caused them to be skeptical and it ended up with McConnell, offering four different bills, all failing to get just 50 votes needed to pass something with “the Skinny Repeal,” was the final offering.
In the end, the Republican establishment that candidate Trump crushed during the campaign, all the way to the Republican National Convention last summer in Cleveland calling them weak found out Friday that he was right. The Party has never totally embraced the idea that Trump won the election.
Two weeks ago Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was asked why after seven years of fighting to defeat ObamaCare, didn’t the GOP have a cohesive plan on health care. Toomey responded with a very telling and honest response “We never thought that Trump would win.”
Well, Trump did win and by trusting the GOP establishment to handle health care he saw firsthand why he was able to beat the 12 best candidates the party had to offer. Going forward look for Trump to pit the GOP establishment against the Democrats, because he is really an Independent and that is really got him elected.