Day 180: Trumpcare Loss a Humiliating Defeat for Trump, McConnell

Two more public GOP defections — and likely many more behind the scenes — killed the Senate’s version of a health care bill from even reaching the floor.

Nicholas Kamm | Getty Images

Donald Trump seemingly pushed for the passage of any bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act bill so that he could proclaim victory. With two more Republican senators — bringing the number to four —coming out against the Senate’s version of a bill last night, the bill cannot pass. (Zero Democrats supported the bill.)

Based on who came out, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), popular conservatives who aren’t up for reelection until 2022, it stands to reason that they were covering for their moderate brethren who would have had a terrible time running after supporting the heinous bill.

The philosophical divide on the right in how to handle the bill has always been problematic. As we wrote 10 days before Trump took office, health care would be an anchor around the necks of the GOP:

That puts the GOP between a rock and a hard place. There are likely many senators and egos who want to be the new architect for health care reform. There will be different groups of Republicans having different ideas for implementation and goals.
However, the Republicans will need to coalesce around a single plan and put it to a vote.

They were never able to get past those hurdles.

The Resistance movement scared the hell out of moderates too. Stripping entitlements from people is always a dangerous political move and the Republicans just didn’t have the votes to get it done.

So it makes sense that Trump and McConnell shifted to…wait…full repeal, no replace?

The CBO has scored this version of a bill already. As opposed to 20-something million losing health care coverage under the Senate or House bills, a full repeal would be extremely expensive to those who can keep insurance. A repeal would boot 32 million from insurance coverage.

Needless to say, Republican senators wary about the fallout of a relatively less harsh repeal and replace bill do not appear to like this option much better.

Republicans wouldn’t even be able to completely repeal the ACA through the reconciliation process. What this means is that absent breaking historic precedent and doing away with the filibuster — which there appears to be little support for (and still wouldn’t necessarily help in this case) — the Republicans need to find 60 votes to repeal the ACA in full. That has approximately a 0.00000 percent chance of occurring with the current makeup of the Senate.

The GOP has dug themselves a nasty hole for seven years claiming they would repeal and replace Obamacare with something better. Now, forced to show their cards, they have nothing. McConnell has tried every trick in the book — delaying publishing the bill, last minute amendments that wouldn’t be scored by the CBO, pushing back an August recess — but everyone knows definitively now he’s holding a dud of a hand.

Fixing Obamacare with bipartisanship — something that Democrats have openly said numerous times they desire to do — is the easiest way for all parties, including Trump and McConnell, to declare victory. Even if he has nothing to do with it, other than adding his signature, Trump can scream until he’s blue in the face that he was able to effectively negotiate a difficult deal with two sides that didn’t see eye-to-eye under previous administrations. The changes would actually be beneficial and likely lower premiums and increase access to affordable insurance. Trump will be able to claim that Republicans saved the Democrats’ bill.The right will eat it up and all of America will be better served. Win-win.

Republican-led health care reform isn’t 100 percent dead yet. But it’s buried up to its eyes with no cavalry coming to rescue it.

180 days in, 1282 to go

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