“This is an epic fail. This is historic. This is seven years of arguing going down the drain.”
Republican efforts to eviscerate or simply get rid of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have run into a series of fatal roadblocks in the United States Senate, which means millions of Americans have won a reprieve — at least for now — from the threat of their healthcare being taken away from them.
Roadblock number one was the collapse of Trumpcuts — the legislation that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump badly wanted to eviscerate the PPA and provide wealthcare for millionaires and billionaires.
(He had already lost Rand Paul and Susan Collins.)
Then McConnell announced he would try another gambit: hold a vote on simply repealing the landmark legislation, which dates back to 2010.
“I cannot vote to proceed to repeal the [Patient Protection Act] without reform that allows people the choice they want, the affordability they need and the quality of care they deserve,” Murkowski said in a statement defending her decision.
After roadblock number two appeared, Republican bosses were visibly exasperated.
“This has been a very, very challenging experience for all of us,” said a weary McConnell, the top Senate Republican, who has been trying for weeks to figure out a way to take away the healthcare of millions of Americans but has failed.
“It’s pretty obvious that we don’t have fifty members who can agree on a replacement,” McConnell added, failing to admit that he and his party have had seven years to develop a “replacement”, but have utterly failed to do so because most of them do not believe that healthcare is a human right.
What they have done instead is noisily complain at every turn and scheme endlessly to gut the law, through judicial, legislative, or executive action. Donald Trump has now suggested, in the wake of today’s developments, that he will try to use executive power to sabotage the law so it can’t work the way Congress intended to. If his minions carry out such threats, though, they can expect litigation.
McConnell said Tuesday evening that he would hold a vote to proceed to the bill “early next week,” which would put senators on the record even if the vote’s outcome was preordained.
McConnell said the vote was “at the request of the president and vice president and after consulting with our members.”
Trump is also launching a renewed push to try and revive the GOP’s near-dead efforts to repeal [the Patient Protection Act] by inviting all Senate Republicans to the White House for lunch Wednesday. He believes he can get an agreement to move forward by twisting arms and negotiating himself, according to sources familiar with the matter, although Senate Republicans are not optimistic.
Trump is delusional. It’s quite apparent at this juncture that he doesn’t understand how to negotiate or how to govern. Most Americans now realize this. A large majority of the voting public are already sick of his circus act. After nearly six months in power, Trump is deeply unpopular and growing more unpopular by the day.
Sadly, as America doesn’t have the safety valve of snap elections like paraliamentary democracies have, there is no way to dissolve Trump’s dysfunctional regime and allow Americans to go back to the polls to choose a more competent president.
Trump (and his lieutenant Mike Pence) could be removed from office through impeachment and conviction, but that would require that Congress be run by Trump’s opposition as opposed to his stooges. That’s not the case today.
What is truly ironic about all of this is that the Patient Protection Act is a mostly Republican approach to healthcare that was adopted by Barack Obama and biconceptual Democrats. The law is based in large part on ideas that Republican Mitt Romney championed and implemented while as governor of Massachusetts.
Congressional Democrats — including Patty Murray, who appeared on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily today — have become very comfortable defending the status quo that the Patient Protection Act now represents.
But the status quo isn’t good enough. The PPA has helped millions of people, but it did not provide for a system of universal coverage. We still need that.
If Democrats want to return to power in Congress in 2018, they should campaign on a platform of single payer, universal healthcare coverage for all, which is something that’s actually in many Democratic platforms, but which most congressional Democrats regrettably don’t talk about all that often — or ever.
NPI’s research has found that fully half of Washington State’s electorate strongly supports the idea of Medicare for all, with another chunk of voters somewhat supportive. National surveys have found similar enthusiasm.
If Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi truly want to get out of the political wilderness, then they must embrace the idea of universal healthcare coverage. Not just tolerate it, but embrace it. Love it. Champion it. Ask all Democratic congressional candidates to run on it.
It’s a surefire way to draw an effective contrast with the Republicans, intrigue independent voters, and motivate the base to turn out.