The first Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed to gain enough votes in the House to pass. Ok, that’s a big setback for the party that’s promised to get rid of the disastrous healthcare law since it became law in 2010.
Some commentators and politicians have already started pointing the finger of blame. Some are pointing at the Freedom Caucus, who were intransigent in their insistence Obamacare be repealed in full.
Others are pointing at more moderate Republicans, who feared the dubious CBO score that claimed 24 million people would lose their insurance and premiums would continue to increase under the AHCA.
Many on both sides are trying to pin the blame on Speaker Ryan. Some say he didn’t let the Freedom Caucus in on the process of creating the bill, kept it hidden from members for too long, and/or didn’t adequately communicate the big picture (the three-phase plan of which the AHCA was just the first part).
Still others blame Trump, who trusted his advisers that the AHCA was the best way forward and that healthcare should’ve been the first priority of the administration as opposed to tax reform.
While the failure of the AHCA is at least nominally a failure, going down the course of blame placing and finger pointing will turn that surface wound into a swollen pustule.
The American people are sick of Washington. They are sick of politicians making promises they can’t or don’t keep. They are sick of political spin and politicians blaming everyone but themselves when their failures become manifest.
They’re also sick of Washington meddling in their business, confiscating their money, lying to them, playing them for fools, and treating them like they’re moronic trolls who can’t run their own lives – or see through D.C. political tricks. And their impatience is increasing.
If squabbling must be done, Republicans should do it behind the scenes. Let the Democrats publicly gloat that their ruinous law is still in place.
I applaud President Trump for throwing up his hands and demanding a vote. He was elected to get things done, and another protracted few weeks of intra-GOP squabbling wouldn’t have produced a substantially different bill that could’ve both gained enough House support to pass that body and clear the Senate’s ridiculous cloture hurdle. I also applaud Speaker Ryan for avoiding placing blame and gently chiding his caucus for failing to grow into a governing party, rather than a grandstanding, statement making opposition party.
Speaker Ryan and the House GOP have compounded their challenge. They must still deal with Obamacare, or face a major revolt in 2018 from the voters. The seething mass of Americans in the populist ring who have grown increasingly agitated with Washington won’t put up with more inaction. Simultaneously, Ryan and company must now deal with tax reform.
If they don’t accomplish tax reform, they will lose all credibility as a governing party and all trust that the American people have placed in them to actually get something done – to shrink a government that takes trillions of tax dollars annually but renders little to middle class taxpayers except pothole-riddled highways and nonstop cable news bickering.
If they don’t accomplish health care reform – and there’s still time – they will break one of the longest-running political promises ever made to the American people.
It’s time for the GOP to figure out the way forward and to act and produce results, or else the nationwide uprising among flyover country voters will continue and GOP incumbents will be told en masse by voters, “You’re Fired.”