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Republicans’ Healthcare Disaster Revealed That They Are In Fact Willing To Blow Themselves Up Politically

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Republicans’ Healthcare Disaster Revealed That They Are In Fact Willing To Blow Themselves Up Politically

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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks live via satellite from Trump Tower in New York City during the second session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As House Republicans are considering another Obamacare repeal, they are being goaded by ideologues who haven’t learned much from last week’s failed attack on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

“The resolve of our conference to repeal Obamacare and replace it has never been stronger,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., gamely told reporters early in the week that ended with President Trump escalating a Twitter-based war of words with the far-right Freedom Caucus.

Beyond that spat between grown men acting like playground bullies, the Republicans pushing for another Obamacare repeal still don’t get it, or enough of them don’t, how gutting the ACA would unsettle large swaths of older voters in their red-state base, let alone the rest of America.

A midweek email blast commentary from The National Review’s Jim Geraghty typifies this blind spot.

As he parses House Speaker Paul Ryan’s performance, the focus of GOP infighting until Trump started tweeting about the Freedom Caucus, Geraghty draws on other right-wing pundits. Look at what they emphasize and ask yourself what’s missing.

Geraghty quotes, “my friend Kurt Schlichter: It’s the tactics that Ryan has botched; he’s shown no aptitude for the basic blocking and tackling of legislating and consistently falls back on the errors of the past.” Then he goes to “my friend Jonah Goldberg: On Saturday morning, Trump placed the blame squarely on the House Freedom Caucus, the 30-odd members of Congress who reportedly kept changing their demands.”

This post-mortem that builds toward the conclusion that good conservative ideas needed to be a repeal bill but weren’t. It suggests that what was skipped in the first round but could resurface in another try.

What’s missing from this appraisal? The answer is the real-life consequences that a free-market based hollowing out of the health care system will likely cause, especially the medical, financial and emotion impacts on older Americans.

Amazingly, a handful of red-state Republican-led legislatures and governors jump to that same conclusion.

The dust hadn’t even cleared from last Friday’s collapse of Ryan’s bill gutting Obamacare and Medicaid funding and a handful red states—the same states that sued to block Obamacare—suddenly embraced the ACA’s federally subsidized expansion of their Medicaid programs. This included Kansas, where the arch-rightwing governor is expected to leave for an overseas post, and Georgia, Idaho and Nebraska.

As more pragmatic stateside Republicans are seeing how Obamacare can help their lowest-income residents, the collapse of the House’s repeal effort has prompted the political left to rally around the health care reform they wanted all along—turning Medicare it into a federally based single-payer system.

Health care isn’t any issue. It is one-sixth of the economy. It affects the physical and fiscal health of millions of Americans. It’s strikes more immediately closer to home than the selection of the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, although a corporatist majority court is the reason why so much in America, including health care, is tilted in favor of big business.

It is remarkable to see House Republicans actually considering a new effort to overturn Obamacare. The National Review Geraghty even goaded the White House to draw up the bill—before Trump launched his Twitter attack on the Freedom Caucus.

“Nothing prevented Trump or his team from writing up their own legislation that would enact their own replacement for Obamacare. (Nothing still prevents them now!),” he wrote. “During the campaign, Trump promised he would repeal the law entirely, eliminate the individual mandate, permit the sale of health insurance across state lines, allow individuals to fully deduct health-insurance premium payments, require price transparency from all health-care providers and allow consumers access to imported, safe, and dependable drugs from overseas. The AHCA didn’t include most of that.”

Democratic strategists have rued the exit from their party of older, mostly white baby boom voters in the past decade—people who voted for Bill Clinton in the 1990s but in recent elections were swept up by the Tea Party and Donald Trump’s nostalgic and white-centric hype. Now they see a way to reverse that.

“One of the key voting blocks Democrats will need to win the House and hold the line in the Senate is seniors,” Doug Thornell, a veteran Democratic strategist, earlier this week told The Hill. “Republicans are doing everything they can to help us with that effort.”

Are House Republicans really going to resurrect an Obamacare repeal? The Democrats will need all the help they can get to try to regain a House majority in 2018. Let’s see them try.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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9 Comments

  1. secondclassguy April 2, 2017

    Supporting things they know can’t ever happen, and rejecting things a bit more moderate is a win win for the freedom caucus. If they pretend to stand their ground for having no govt assistance at all they please the greedy and knuckle draggers. If they stop repeal of the ACA so that the poor in their district continue to have care they please them, besides, most of the red state poor have no idea why they even have the care

    Now that i explained the politics i’ll suggest some common sense. Why would you repeal the ACA and replace it with something similar (which is the only way they will pass anything) when you can in a bipartisan way make adjustments and accomplish the exact same thing? I’ll try not to think about it to much, it may send me to the doctor for anti depressants

    Reply
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      Reply
    2. sigrid28 April 2, 2017

      First class post! I found myself admitting to my own Millennial, who avidly follows politics worldwide, that I think we are both far more anxious than we used to be. We’ve used up the anti-depressant diagnosis at our house and are now candidates for anti-anxiety medication. I heart the fellow who said, at one of those raucous town-halls, that ever since Trump’s election he feels a passenger in a car with a drunk driver at the wheel. And to think, representatives in Congress have only being re-elected to worry about.

      Reply
      1. secondclassguy April 2, 2017

        I guess we will age and get the gray hair now usually reserved for presidents

        Reply
    3. Thoughtopsy April 2, 2017

      I agree… the problem is that the rabid GOP ignorant knuckle-dragger ideologues (a small proportion, 10-20%, but very very loud) will see that as betrayal.

      Reply
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  2. Dominick Vila April 3, 2017

    What it revealed is that the only thing that comes out of their mouths is hate and hot air. After almost 7 years of constant attacks, distortions of reality, and failed attempts to repeal the ACA, it turned out the GOP had nothing planned to replace it and, even worse, that some among them did not plan to replace it with anything, because in their twisted brains the role of the government does not include tending to the welfare of the people.

    Reply
    1. pisces63 April 3, 2017

      My problem is how the media down plays their abject failure. ACA was not defeated within a week but over 7 years. They had NOTHING to replace it. It was embarrassing, a college student binge studying for a final does better. It was not a week of binging but 7 years of lying rhetoric that bit them in the behind!!

      Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth April 3, 2017

    Ever since the GOP made the conscious decision to wage war on large segments of American society they deemed inimical to GOP values, we can look back to the days of Nixon to the present of a Party intent on fashioning themselves as political “Jihadists”, wearing suits and ties with wing-tip shoes.
    The latest humiliation with a bomb blast called “TrumpCare” is their latest attempt at self-destruction, hoping to take out American citizens. Therefore, the war on terror has to be waged on 4 fronts—Right-Wing terrorists targeting black people, Muslims(and Baha’is), places of worship, and municipal facilities; the GOP’s frontal assaults; against an incompetent narcissist in the Oval Office; and against a doddering ideologue named Steve Bannon.

    Lack of manufacturing jobs is a problem, but one which can be easily solved by people having the will-power to take advantage of educational opportunities to learn new skills; drug addiction can begin to be combated by applying a compassionate and even-handed approach that doesn’t factor in skin color; and the economic crisis here can begin to resolve itself by smoothing out the misanthropic edges of Capitalism with a generous infusion of spiritual impulses rather than purely materialistic ones.

    Reply

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