Attempt to Repeal ObamaCare – Who Won? Who Lost?

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The House Made Its First Attempt to Repeal ObamaCare in 2017 – Who Really Won? Who Really Lost?

With the House’s first attempt to repeal ObamaCare in 2017 failing to get the job done, finger-pointing is rampant and blame is being generously handed out to many people and groups. That list includes:

  • President Trump
  • Speaker Ryan
  • The House
  • The Senate
  • Moderate Republicans
  • Tuesday Group (of Republicans)
  • Freedom Caucus (of Conservative Republicans)
  • Democrats
  • Heritage Action
  • Club for Growth
  • and Others

The left wing media is having a field day touting the idea that maybe Trump’s agenda is doomed. Maybe, the Republicans are a party that can’t lead or won’t lead. Maybe, even the tax cuts won’t happen. Maybe, nothing will happen at all.

The Democrats are hoping they can start to get what they want, even though they have been obstructing most of what Trump wants. Recall there might be upwards of 500 Trump appointments still being held up in the Senate waiting for Senate confirmation. Even Neil Gorsuch, the outstanding Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Colorado, has had his initial vote delayed until April 3rd.

Last week, the House vote on Paul Ryan’s first attempt at repealing and replacing ObamaCare was never taken due to a lack of about 20 more votes. It failed.

Who really won? Who really lost? What was learned? Importantly, what’s next in the attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare?

Who Really Won with the First Attempt to Repeal ObamaCare in 2017?

Notice, I said the first attempt to repeal ObamaCare in 2017. Depending on what count you want to use. Congress has made up to about 60 attempts to repeal ObamaCare since its passage in 2010.

This might surprise readers. But, I think the clear winner is President Trump. Polls (by the way, be cautious with polls and their underlying models) appear to indicate that they don’t blame Trump for his efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare. They see other reasons as major contributing factors. For example, rushing a vote in  the House. Speaker Ryan allowed only about 16 days (9 if you take into account the CBO scoring) to debate the merits of impacting 20% (!!!) of the American Economy. Also, another reason is the lack of building a Republican Conference consensus prior to introducing the proposed legislation publicly.

The American people believe Trump was following through on his campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare, while Congress failed to come through on their promises. The American voter knows that Congress controls what laws pass and what laws don’t.

President Trump is the winner.

Incidentally, Trump is smart and a fast learner. This was a learning experience for him. Just as he consistently learned during the primary and general election seasons, he is learning as the president. Expect Trump to lead on future legislative issues and not rely on Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell as much. Their job will be to pass legislation, more than to broker consensus (both inside the Republican Party and across party lines.)

Who Really Lost with the First Attempt to Repeal ObamaCare in 2017?

I think the clear loser is Speaker Paul Ryan. Recall that he indicated a few weeks ago, he had the repeal and replace agenda all planned and scheduled. He said the House had plenty of time to debate the bill. He decided to do the repeal and replace process in three phases. This was phase 1. Apparently, many conservatives felt that the first phase was not truly repeal and replace, and the other two phases might never be voted on. It might take several years to finish the job.

Also, many believed that phase 1 was primarily ObamaCare Lite. They didn’t like the entitlement it created of tax credits to pay for healthcare insurance. Plus, the usual free market principles (like competition across State lines) were absent.

The Freedom Caucus, while criticized by many “moderate” Republicans, acted as the conscience of the Republican Party. They stood on principle and voted for what President Trump and most Republicans promised during the 2016 election. ObamaCare Lite was not the goal. Their goal was, and is still today, to repeal and replace ObamaCare with a more competitive, less expensive, free market based healthcare system.  They understand many Americans are hurting from the excessively high (and growing!!!) cost of ObamaCare. They want it fixed.

Speaker Ryan promised more than he could deliver. I believe his job is in jeopardy.

Speaker Ryan is the clear loser.

What’s Next?

Repealing and replacing ObamaCare was the signature issue of President Trump’s 2016 campaign. It was also the main issue many Republican campaigned on in 2010, 2014 and 2016. Failure to fulfill these campaign promises will have dramatic impacts on the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and ultimately the 2020 presidential election. The issue will be addressed in 2017 in my opinion. This time, President Trump will lead the fight with a bill that clearly repeals and replaces ObamaCare. This new bill, promoted by President Trump, will not be ObamaCare and will not be ObamaCare Lite.

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