A Bit of History
In 2011, the Republicans introduced a bill called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” All Republicans and 3 Democrats voted to repeal. The bill ultimately failed in the senate.
In 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as constitutional because it was a tax. Following the high court’s ruling, the U.S House of Representatives again voted to repeal with all 244 Republicans and 5 Democrats supporting the effort. President Obama said he would veto the bill even if it made it through the house and senate.
In 2013, house Republicans attempted to defund the ACA, which ultimately led to a two-week shutdown of the government because the Democrat-controlled senate refused to pass any government funding bill that included repeal language to Obamacare. The Republicans lost the battle.
In February 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives held their 67th repeal vote. This attempt also failed.
In October 2015, the Republicans again offered a bill to repeal, “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.” However, some Republicans in the house and senate were opposed to the bill because it only repealed partial aspects of the ACA. The bill also included defunding Planned Parenthood. Again, even if passed by the house and senate, President Obama promised a veto.
In December, the Senate did pass an amended version and sent it back to the house, but Obama vetoed the bill.
Republicans Only Blowing Smoke
It is true that the Republicans have long promised repeal, but the makeup of Congress impeded their efforts. “We need a majority in the senate” was a familiar campaign slogan in 2014. In reality, they needed control of the senate to get a repeal bill passed. The voters bought the line and delivered a majority to the senate in 2014, and they gained seats in the already Republican controlled house, 246-189.
Even with control of both the house and senate, it was clear that President Obama would veto any bill that would repeal his signature legislation. Once again, Republicans appealed to the voters with campaign promises in 2016 claiming that they would finally and immediately achieve the repeal of the ACA. Voters delivered the White House to the Republicans last November with the election of Donald J. Trump.
No Fire, Just Re-Election Campaign Slogans
Even the main street media (MSM) reports that Obamacare is in a death spiral with continued skyrocketing premiums, co-payments, taxes, and fewer choices. Congress, both Republican and Democrat, continue to play politics with the issue, leaving Americans to bear the consequences.
Republicans have played lip service to voters for years, talking tough on repealing the government takeover of the country’s healthcare system. Starting with Mitt Romney in 2012, the tough talk eased, and the new political campaign slogan became “repeal and replace.” Romney failed miserably and could not muster enough Republican voters to show up at the polls. As a result, he handed Obama another four years and Americans with government controlled healthcare.
Republicans had been campaigning on ‘repeal and replace’ since the Romney attempt to capture the White House. Candidate Trump vowed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare on day one if elected. But in the aftermath of these unkept promises, rank and file Republicans are left wondering how their leadership and members did not have a replacement bill ready the moment President Trump was sworn into office. Even now, nine months into a Republican controlled house, senate, and White House, the party is incapable of repealing Obamacare.
Whether it’s John McCain (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), or Rand Paul (R-KY), who, by the way, campaigned and voted to repeal, all are now opposed to doing so.
During the previous administration they knew their vote would not have any consequences since Obama would surely veto. But it did, nevertheless, provide them with an effective campaign slogan.
Susan Collins (R-ME) was only for repeal and voted for such when she knew Obama would veto. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also voted for repeal, on more than one occasion when it had no chance of being signed by Obama. Now that we have a president who will sign a repeal bill, the Republicans can’t seem to find enough Republican votes to get it done.
John McCain, who ran two failed campaigns for president even made repealing Obamacare one of his central campaign promises. That was then; this is now. Presently, McCain has no interest in repeal. In fact, McCain single handily killed the last repeal bill with his famous thumbs down stunt.
The Latest Smoke-“Graham-Cassidy.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, up for re-election, has co-sponsored yet another attempt to repeal the ACA. Of course, there is zero chance of it getting the needed votes which Graham knows. Just more smoke; smoke he can use in his re-election campaign. Same with Dean Heller. Heller, you may remember, denounced the Republican repeal and replace bill in June 2017, successfully helping to derail the effort. During the vote on the senate floor, Heller “passed” on voting during the roll call the first time his name was called. He only voted in favor of repeal after McCain killed the bill. At that point, it did not matter how Heller voted because there was no chance of it passing.
Heller, who is in jeopardy of losing his seat, has decided to sign onto the latest “smoke.” The Graham-Cassidy bill will give him a powerful campaign talking point. He can claim he helped sponsor a bill to repeal, all the while knowing the bill will not pass.
Nevada voters are unlikely to swallow yet another smoke cloud from Senator Dean Heller. He is currently facing a primary against opponent Danny Tarkanian. Tarkanian is well-known and liked in Nevada, and recent polling suggests Heller is in deep trouble. Heller also continues to face backlash for bashing Trump in the 2014 presidential primary and uniting with Mitt Romney and the crowd of “never Trumpers.”
Rand Paul, who, by the way, enjoys a popular Libertarian following for his principled beliefs is also backing down from repeal because the latest repeal bill just doesn’t meet his “principles.” However, while Paul grandstands and soothes his ego, he leaves Americans stuck with Obamacare. As far as principles? We all know Paul can compromise his principles when advantageous to his own career as was witnessed when he endorsed Mitch McConnell over Matt Bevin in 2014.
Draining the Swamp
Senators, Dean Heller, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Ted Cruz are all up for reelection in 2018.
There are no more excuses that Republican elected officials can use. They needed the house. So voters gave them the house. They then needed the senate. Subsequently, voters gave them the senate. Last, they needed the White House; voters gave them the White House. But if Republicans cannot finally repeal Obamacare, look for more draining of the swamp in 2018.
There is a reason Congress has an approval rating hovering between 12 and 16 percent. Voters of both parties and independents are tired of smothering smoke and no fire.
The countries overwhelming opposition to Obamacare is not because Americans don’t want good healthcare or because they don’t want everyone to have good healthcare. The opposition stems from the people knowing what would happen once the federal government got complete control of the healthcare system: Chaos, nonfunctioning, inadequate, overpriced, unaffordable, lack of access, and poor health care for everyone. Except, of course, the elected officials who force second-tier healthcare on the citizens they claim to serve while they themselves enjoy first class care.
Republicans fail to repeal Obamacare again
And there you have it Americans, today, Fox News reports that no vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill will take place because they don’t have enough Republican votes. Now that their vote matters, Republican’s don’t have enough votes.
Lots of Republicans blowing smoke; and if you can believe it, they are still trying to claim they have a path forward and want to repeal. Most surprising is they are counting on voters to believe them.
Election season has begun. Any Republican incumbent that is running for re-election on “repeal and replace” is likely just blowing smoke.
By Laurel Fee
Edited by D. Chandler
NBC News: Republicans Rule House and Senate for First Time in 8 Years
The Washington Post: Shutdown begins: Stalemate forces first U.S. government closure in 17 years
The Washington Post: Senate passes Obamacare repeal, Planned Parenthood defunding bill, putting Republicans on record
The New Republic: Tea Party to Republicans: Shut Down the Government, or You’re a Sellout
Wikipedia: Efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Gallop: Republicans’ Approval of Congress Drops to New 2017 Low
Featured and Top Image Courtesy Nobama Nomas Flickr Page – Creative Commons License