The GOP killed Obamacare. They are stuck with that.

Big changes on “Day One.” There is downside to that.

Trump made a big show in his first days in office. There was a new sheriff in town. He signed Executive Orders. He immediately reversed Obama decisions and held the documents up for the cameras. The optics were clear: he was strong, decisive, making changes.

Voters wanted change. They got it.

This was the message. In hindsight, oops.

Meanwhile, there is inertia of programs already in place. In the weeks prior to his inauguration there was a flurry of people signing up for the ACA, Obamacare, trying to grab what they could before it disappeared. Maybe they would be grandfathered. Maybe there would be some months of coverage. This took place in the context of Trump resolute it would be repealed promptly and Trump and Congress saying they would replace it.

The important news isn’t interesting enough to be newsworthy amid all the Trump commotion. Problems are accelerating in the insurance marketplaces established by Obamacare. News of this is drowned out amid big dramas of Trump’s tweets and Flynn’s being fired and Trump meeting Abe and House Members arguing over whether to investigate Flynn’s contact with Russia or the leakers who revealed he had lied to Pence and that possibly he was simply following the orders of President-elect Trump. Still, whether Humana remains in the ACA marketplace is of critical importance to whether the ACA can survive. The future was uncertain at best, the rules might change, insurers were losing money because the sickest people were signing up and financial support for younger and healthier people was fading away.

The inertia of Obamacare was a death spiral of collapse. When insurers leave the marketplace people will not be able to buy insurance at any price. Republican opposition made certain there would not be a backstop of a public option.

Who gets blamed for the impending mess? Republicans. Republicans made it easy for Democrats.

They succeeded in selling the idea that they were Obamacare’s executioner. Trump, and Republicans generally, wanted credit for taking charge, for being decisive, for changing everything-Obama on Day One. Trump liked that bull in a china shop image. He was a CEO, saying “You’re Fired!”

Had Republicans handled the campaign differently, and the transition differently things might be better for them. They might have been able to sell the notion that the chaos belonged to Obama, not them.

They are trapped by their own base and how they amped up that base. Republican voters did not want to hear that “Obamacare has a lot of things going for it, that it was actually a Republican/Heritage Foundation program that we are going to improve. No. It was essential that they communicate that they are going to repeal it. The House made a show of this with dozens of votes communicating that if they had the chance they would kill Obamacare.

Ideal for Republicans would be to blame the collapse on Obama. It was failing already! See what a mess he left? Blame Obama. Trump is now starting to do this. I inherited a mess, he said.

It won’t work because Republicans were so successful in communicating that they would change Obamacare immediately, that they were pulling the rug out from under it. They own the collapse.

Republicans and Fox News and Trump are pointing back and try to undo their previous message, saying the mess was really Obama’s. Too late. They presented themselves as Obamacare’s executioner so when Obamacare dies people will assume they did it. The health care mess is theirs.

This article is taken from my daily blog: UpClose with Peter Sage. Check it out: