The Republicans Don’t Want To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. They Just Want To Seem Like They’re Trying.
Keep this simple phrase in mind as you watch the theatrics from Congress and the White House today over whether Paul Ryan’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act will pass the House of Representatives: You break it, you own it.
For years, Republicans have loved complaining about the Affordable Care Act. It’s been a great way for them to get political traction. Republicans have also loved to make promises that, if only they could, they would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something much, much better.
This year, as the Republicans gained control over Congress and the White House, and are poised to gain control over the Supreme Court, it’s become clear that the Republican Party never really planned to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They never bothered to craft an alternative. Over years of having fun complaining about the Affordable Care Act, they didn’t ever bother coming up with any plan to replace the health care legislation with that something much, much better they kept on promising.
So, we’re left with an awkward hodge podge that the Republicans slapped together at the last minute, legislation that some call TrumpCare, but could more accurately be called TrumpCareless – because it’s the opposite of care. It would cut taxes on wealthy Americans, cut services for everyone else, and allow insurance companies to hike the price of health care insurance for economically struggling Americans.
Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress know that their legislation is awful. They’ve read the polls showing that only 17 percent of Americans support the Republican plan to gut health care reform. They also know that if they repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with their train wreck of a bill, all subsequent troubles in the American health care system will be blamed on them, rather than the Democrats. They know that if they break health care in America, they will be the ones who are called upon to fix it.
What Republicans are aiming for is to create a show that makes it seem that they are genuinely trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while at the same time sabotaging the legislation. They want members of their angry political base to be placated while avoiding responsibility. So, they’ve made sure that the only way their legislation could pass the House of Representatives is if it’s amended in such a way that would make it impossible to pass the Senate. At the same time, Donald Trump has adopted the pose of a tough guy, threatening Congress by saying that if they don’t pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act today, he’ll just stop trying… which is what Republicans have wanted to do all along.
If Republicans in Congress fail today to pass H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, it won’t be a genuine political failure. It will be exactly what the Republican leadership is hoping for. If the House of Representatives does somehow pass H.R. 1628 today, it will be with the knowledge that the Senate will soon do the deed of putting the bill out of its misery.