Tags: trump | ahca | obamacare | paul ryan

Trump to Blame for Failed Healthcare Bill?

Trump to Blame for Failed Healthcare Bill?
President Donald Trump reacts after Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

By Monday, 27 March 2017 02:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It is "March madness" in more places than NCAA college basketball. What can be understood from the collapse of the Republican’s attempt to deal with healthcare?

For at least six years Republicans across the land campaigned to repeal Obamacare. The House of Representatives had even passed bills to repeal Obamacare, and of course, these were stalled in the Senate and would have been vetoed by President Obama. Yet, during those six years about 20 million people and more than a few states became accustomed to new entitlement benefits and dollars. Complicating matters, President Trump, who campaigned to repeal Obamacare, also promised no American would be hurt in the repeal, and then he upped the ante by saying the replacement for Obamacare should be passed simultaneously with the repeal. With his populist tone and his always being suspected of Democratic sympathies, it could be interpreted that Trump has revealed his true colors.

So with a Republican President, in 2017, with the threat of the repeal of Obamacare likely, the Republican forces split over what to do. Some Republicans in Congress, facing pressure from the possible loss of entitlements and money to their states, waivered, and equally important, there now was a president interested in spending the money to give the entire population health care. With no firm presidential leadership actually to do away with the result of Obamacare, many Republicans caved and fell in-line with what Trump was recommending — at best a partial repeal of Obamacare — "Obamacare light" as it was called.

The moderates in Congress, often swaying with the wind, perhaps could have been persuaded to support complete repeal backed by President Trump, but Trump had mellowed and shifted his position. The conservative Freedom Caucus in the House insisted on full repeal of Obamacare, and without the Caucus support, the House passed no healthcare bill.

Now Trump, and such politicians as Ohio Governor John Kasich, are suggesting working with Democrats! Trump has caused the problem reforming healthcare. Trump has already pulled back from throwing all the illegal immigrants out of America (probably impractical to do, but now it is unclear what Trump will do), and he is ready to leave the Democratic healthcare entitlement, more or less, intact. Meanwhile, the chatter in the media is intent on blaming congressional Republicans for not passing a bill. Perhaps Republicans should have ignored Trump’s advice and help with healthcare legislation, and simply passed a repeal of Obamacare.

Since his plan did not pass the House of Representatives, Trump, it would seem, is faced with several options. He can try to build a coalition of Democrat moderates to pass a healthcare bill that would, as the Freedom Caucus argues, reform, but not do away with Obamacare and the massive entitlement. It still would live. On the other hand, he could move closer to the Freedom Caucus idea of repealing Obamacare. He could throw his presidential weight toward the more conservative positon on which the Republican Party, perhaps not Trump, was swept into office.

Whatever happens next, Trump’s own campaign promises not to hurt any American with health care reform has left the Republicans in Congress with an impossible situation.

With any health care reform, someone is likely to get hurt. If Trump attempts to throw in with the Democrats, it will be most interesting to see, first if the Democrats will agree to cooperate. It would seem Democrats are most interested in regaining power rather than cooperating with Trump, and second, what will happen in future elections. Trump and the Republicans could lose the support of the people who wanted a balanced budget and less government giveaways, and a new direction. Some Americans did not vote for Trump merely to witness watered-down Democratic big spending policies. Many Republicans saw Trump a man of his word among a batch of spineless Republican presidential candidates.

The new Republican coalition was largely forged because people believed Trump could improve the economy and deliver jobs (and end Obamacare and the immigration mess). To retain the support for the Republicans and himself, he could move closer to the Freedom Caucus, repeal Obamacare, and then make two promises: to get the economy booming which would give people money to buy insurance, and once the smoke clears with the repeal, to provide what help is possible for those who are in need. Will the Republicans and Trump have the courage to repeal Obamacare?

John Havick has a Ph.D. in political science. He was a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology for many years, authored several books and a number of articles, including the widely cited "The Impact of the Internet on a Television-Based Society." His work has appeared in The New York Times, and his recent book, "The Ghosts of NASCAR: The Harlan Boys and the First Daytona 500," is available at ghostsofnascar.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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What can be understood from the collapse of the Republican’s attempt to deal with healthcare?
trump, ahca, obamacare, paul ryan
Monday, 27 March 2017 02:41 PM
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