After 7 Years, GOP Continues to Struggle on Repealing Obamacare

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Late Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement announcing that the Senate will not be voting on the new healthcare bill, nicknamed “Trumpcare”. Instead, the Senate GOP plans to vote on a two-year repeal of Obamacare with no replacement. After seven years and countless failed attempts with relentless opposition and disapproval from millions of Americans on both sides of the aisle, the GOP is asking for more time to come up with a viable healthcare proposal despite having control in all branches of government.

There aren’t many Americans who would argue that Obamacare is perfect. Indeed it is not. About 55% of the country supports keeping the Affordable Care Act, but believe that it requires major changes. It is true that the ACA has provided affordable access to life-saving healthcare for many Americans. For many others, however, the ACA did not do what it set out to do. It does appear that the Republican Party cannot formulate an adequate healthcare solution, given that after seven years of fervently opposing Obamacare, support for Trumpcare barely reached 20% approval.

The Republican Party will have a major challenge heading into the 2018 midterms but this does not guarantee an automatic majority for the Democrats. It is true that the GOP will offer no viable healthcare proposal within the next year, seeing as they have had to abandon their “best” solution of Trumpcare. It is time for the Democratic Party to move forward from simply opposing the GOP agenda. Democrats cannot simply resist, but propose meaningful and effective reform. They still require and struggle with forming a message, a platform, for 2018.

Support for single-payer healthcare is rising within the Democratic Party and among the American people. If not single-payer, what about the public option? Or a truly universal healthcare system that does what it is supposed to do and does not put the American people at the mercy of the insurance companies?

If there was any chance, any indication that the Democratic Party can at least take the House in 2018, this is it. The GOP has been exposed as inept at handling healthcare policy and will have no positive reform to campaign on in 2018. Unfortunately for them, this was perhaps their strongest message. Seven years of “we have to repeal Obamacare”. Then, “we have to repeal and replace Obamacare”. None of this has happened so far and the solutions have continued to fail.

As a bit of advice to the GOP, which is something they surely already know: If the American people reject your legislation by a landslide, you are not doing well. Even if you had the votes in the House and Senate to pass it along to President Trump’s desk, you do not have the votes from the American people. Although you were elected by your constituents, this does not give you a mandate to do whatever you wish with their lives under the guise of representing those who have elected you. They know that you are not and that you are desperately trying to save your position heading into 2018. People are awake and you can no longer hide your intentions.

Knowing that President Trump won the electoral college by only 100,000 votes across three states while losing the popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes, you do not have the mandate to repeal Obamacare in general, especially not when its replacement barely reaches double-digit support.

Finally, the secrecy surrounding the GOP healthcare plans is probably the most telling. When you are truly proud of your work, you would enthusiastically share every detail with not only the country, but the entire world. You would want to show everyone what great ideas you have, and what a shining example they could be for a right-wing healthcare system against the universal healthcare systems of basically every other developed country on Earth. This is not what happened in reality. Gaining even the smallest details of Trumpcare was like pulling teeth, even for fellow Republicans in the Senate who were not on the health committee.

Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Progressive, we all know one thing. If it is done in secret, it is something that we will vigorously oppose now and at the polls in 2018.