By Janice Barlow
Obamacare has been a thorn in the side of Republicans since its passage. Many of the candidates campaigned on repealing it, including Donald Trump. Most of us remember back in 2013 when Ted Cruz (R-TX), fought against its original passage with a lone 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor.
Yet, here we are, almost five months into a solidly GOP dominated government, and we still have Obamacare. Not only is that the case, but the “repeal” passed by the House nearly three weeks ago has not been released to the Senate yet. Apparently, after passing the bill, the House waited for the Congressional Budget Office to give its projections before sending it on to the Senate. The CBO came back with results which made the House bill look abysmal at best, costing the public more in premiums and causing over 23 million people to eventually lose coverage. But if the House now leaves their version intact, the Senate will have those major hurdles to overcome.
In the meantime, opposition has been brewing in the Senate. In addition to the Democrats who either want to keep Obamacare intact or have a dislike for anything Republican, there are, on the other side, conservative Republicans who feel that the House bill is not a true repeal, but simply a doctored up version of Obamacare with a few tweaks. They would rather see something closer to a full repeal, and some want more expansion of Medicaid for an increasing elderly population.
The conservative voters have been blindly waiting for the bill to be reconstructed by the Senate to make it more palatable as a true repeal, and then go to a vote, but the House has been sitting on the bill, maybe because they recognized that the Senate would shoot it down for various and polarized reasons. Now the time has come. The House must modify the bill or pass it on to their senate counterparts.
To make matters worse, President Trump, last night, tweeted out that he wanted more money for healthcare, alluding to his belief in Universal health, even though he claims to want to repeal Obamacare in the same breath. This puts all the House efforts in a bind. The bill had stripped some of Medicaid from the elderly in order to fund other parts, such as an additional $8 billion for preexisting conditions. But if Trump is “make it the best anywhere”, where will the funding come from?
I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere. ObamaCare is dead – the Republicans will do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017
Let’s revisit the Senate. Assuming some form of Trumpcare is inserted into the bill, will the conservative senators have the fortitude to strip it out of the bill, knowing that they are defying their own president? For Senator Ted Cruz, repealing the AHCA is his hallmark. Much of the revised Senate repeal of Obamacare is his and Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY), baby. To stand up for the revised version will mean standing against Trump’s wishes. There is no way around it. Cruz and Paul are in a bind. Trump will likely have the support of the usual RINO’s in the Senate, which will be most of them. But of the standouts, only one is up for reelection in 2018 besides Senator Cruz. Would Trump, at this somewhat late stage, threaten to primary Cruz and Dean Heller (R-NV), the only other Senator vocally opposing the bill up for reelection? Senator Heller is opposed to the House version and wants an Obamacare repeal for this reason:
While I am in favor of repealing ObamaCare, I am opposed to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in its current form, Sen. Dean Heller(R-Nev.), who faces a close reelection race next year, said in a statement. This bill does not do enough to address Nevada Medicaid population or protect Nevadans with pre-existing conditions.
Once the reelection of these two Senators and several others becomes secured, they are free to oppose Trump on anything until the cows come home, and there is nothing he can do about it. In addition, there are other senators not up for reelection who have announced that they will not vote for the House version in its current form and are seeking a repeal, including Marco Rubio, (R-FL), who battled against Trump, often personally, in the primaries. But the time to oppose the bill is now, not after reelection.
There is little doubt that a message of the best government health care anywhere is a message of socialism. Once it takes hold, like Obamacare, it will be almost impossible to turn back. Social Security has become what people consider a retirement pension instead of just a supplement, because of the entitlement mentality of the label. Trumpcare would be much the same. Instead of making healthcare something that is attainable for anyone willing to pay for it by choice, making it a right makes it socialistic. If we continue down that road, there will be nothing in America worth fighting for and the government will continue to become the giant nipple that society clings to.
The sluggishness of the GOP to act on a repeal seems to indicate that the bill might just be dead in the water and that Obamacare may just continue on. There is one thing that has proven itself once again. Much to the dismay of both Republicans and Democrats alike, Donald Trump is a liberal. Neither side however, wants to admit it.