On Monday evening, the Senate version of Obamacare replacement crashed and burned as Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced they would not support a bill that didn’t repeal Obamacare, and in fact left its regulatory infrastructure in place while increasing certain subsidies.
So, now the big question: what comes next?
President Trump, who has never invested much time or effort in Obamacare repeal, tweeted out three mutually exclusive plans in the span of twelve hours. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an alternative as well. None of these plans is in particularly good shape.
Repeal Obamacare, Set The Time Bomb. This is McConnell’s plan: vote on Obamacare repeal, but only set it to detonate in two years. That would allow Republicans to get beyond the midterm election, but would set a time bomb for President Trump in 2020, as the weight of repeal would hit all at once. The presumption is that such a threat would push Republicans to come up with an alternative; perhaps it would. It’s also just as possible that Republicans don’t have the votes in the Senate to advance a pure repeal, because Senators like Susan Collins don’t want to be held hostage to reforms they’d prefer not to implement.
Repeal Obamacare, Then Work With Democrats. Yeah, good luck with that. Here’s President Trump making this proposal:
The chances that Democrats will be interested in working with Republicans after a full-scale repeal are somewhere between “never going to happen” and “BAHAHAHAHAHA.”
Blame Conservatives, Work With Democrats. This was Trump’s second proposal:
This is the call from such self-appointed conservative guardians as Laura Ingraham:
Hilariously, Ingraham is now on the same side of this issue as that awful cuck Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who stated, “The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”
Trump has threatened this for months — let Obamacare die, force Democrats to the table. It’s asinine. It’s not going to happen, because Democrats will never participate in bipartisan legislation with Trump. They don’t even hold similar principles. Their version of bipartisan legislation would include massive new subsidies, massive new regulations, and a hard push toward single-payer health care.
Get Rid Of The Filibuster (?). This was Trump’s latest proposal:
Of course, the problem here is that Republicans can’t even get to 51 votes on a simple repeal or an agreement for replacement. So this won’t help too much, although it would make it easier to get to 51 votes if you didn’t have to worry about the Senate’s arcane reconciliation rules.
The most likely scenario here is that Republicans fail to vote to repeal, Obamacare continues to spiral, and Republicans end up passing a few quick fixes to prevent full-scale disaster. That’s how they’ve addressed every other Democratic program for the last 70 years, so why should this be any different?