This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 31, 2017:
For more than six years Republicans have promised that, given the chance, they would repeal the odious, expensive, and unconstitutional healthcare takeover called ObamaCare. Seven times they have voted to repeal it, knowing that then-President Obama, its primary promulgator and author, would veto it.
But voters believed them and when Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, it was going to be a shoo-in: full and total repeal at the top of the list. At least that’s what Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, thought. So he prepared a bill: simple, straightforward, two sentences long:
This Act may be cited as the “ObamaCare Repeal Act.”
Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.
Brooks was excited: One and done! Next! He introduced his bill in March:
If the American people want to repeal ObamaCare, this is their last, best chance during the 115th Congress. Those Congressmen who are sincere about repealing ObamaCare may prove it by signing the discharge petition.
At a minimum, the discharge petition will, like the sun burning away the fog, show American voters who really wants to repeal ObamaCare and who merely acts that way during election time.
Brooks got a hard lesson in how things work in Washington. Not only did he have enormous difficulty getting co-sponsors, his bill never made it out of committee.
Instead it became “repeal and replace” followed by “repeal and revise.” Last week even a “skinny” repeal (Obamacare Lite) was voted down, thanks to RINOs, 51-49. Leading the pack of RINOs was Senator John McCain from Arizona, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowsky of Alaska. So committed to keeping ObamaCare intact was McCain that he got out of his hospital bed, flew to Washington, and cast the final vote at 1:30 in the morning!
Their voting records reflect a near-total lack of concern over keeping their oaths of office to protect and defend the Constitution. The Freedom Index for each of them is 63 percent, 40 percent and 48 percent, respectively.
But they don’t share the blame alone. Masters of political statecraft and closed-door maneuvering are House Speaker Paul Ryan (FI: 58 percent) and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (FI: 60 percent).
Who else is to blame? Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. He voted to uphold the individual mandate out of conviction that his court must not be responsible for ending the healthcare takeover. Others include Republicans happy to vote for repeal when it had no chance, but gaining them political points back home. When Trump unexpectedly won, however, they were faced with the politicians’ biggest fear: being forced to keep their promises.
They “badly underestimated,” wrote Jonathan Tobin of National Review, “how hard it would be to do something that no party has ever been able to accomplish: roll back an entitlement….” Once addicted to the new program, resistance began to fade as those newcomers were now covered with healthcare at the expense of their neighbors. Current polls are showing only 29 percent interested in repeal, with the vast majority wanting Congress to move on to other things.
According to Tobin, most of the blame can be placed on President Trump. He explains in his recent National Review article that Obama “had little respect for Congress or interest in the normal forms of friendly persuasion that involve entertaining and back-scratching. But he proved that a president could have neither the charm of Ronald Reagan nor the penchant for raw political thuggery of Lyndon Johnson and still have the ability to force dysfunctional congressional majorities to give him what he wanted.”
What Obama had – a total dedication to the expansion of government even in the face of loud and persistent resistance by most Americans – is what Trump lacks entirely. Trump is the ultimate pragmatist. He has no ideology, no commitment to the Constitution, no fixed star in the Heavens to guide him. He and his staff had one problem, and one only: cut down the expensive ObamaCare program and use the savings to cover the deficits in his proposed budget.
When that effort failed last week, Trump became petulant, as revealed by his tweets:
After seven years of ‘talking’ Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!
He then tweeted this not-so-subtle threat:
He added verbal insult to the potential financial injury:
Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead. Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!
The president has threatened to cut off those federal subsidies before but paid them in June and July. Now, however, with the August payment in jeopardy, health insurance companies are estimating that they will be forced to raise premiums immediately by at least 20 percent. In addition Trump wants to abrogate the agreement wrought in 2010 putting Congressional staffs under ObamaCare, along with federal subsidies just like everyone else. If he keeps his tweet, Trump will turn off both spigots unless the Senate bends to his will and votes on R&R next week before taking their August recess.
This is likely to end Trump’s run for the roses. With ObamaCare in place, and Senators headed for the exits, the president has no chance to press for his budget. That ends promises to cut income taxes, fund the wall, rebuild infrastructure and the military. Last week’s vote sealed his political fate. It wasn’t the Democrats who did it, either. It was RINOs who never saw a government program they didn’t like, or one that didn’t need expanding. Trump has used up his political capital and has precious little to show for it.
But it was fun while it lasted.
The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Threatens to Cancel Some Health-Care Benefits for Lawmakers
National Review: Who Killed Obamacare Repeal? Blame Trump