The Republicans run the House, Senate and the presidency; they made gains during the Obama Administration throughout state legislatures and governorships in large part due to their opposition to Obamacare. A central tenet of the Republican platform was that they would repeal Obamacare.
On Tuesday, it became clear that this promise won't come to fruition after a bill to only repeal Obamacare all but died in the Senate.
Here are the seven most hypocritical things Republicans have said about Obamacare repeal.
1. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stated that she wouldn't vote for the Obamacare repeal bill despite voting for the same bill in 2015. In her statement on Tuesday, Murkowski stated that a repeal-only bill would cause "confusion and greater uncertainty":
But after Barack Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare in January 2016, Murkowski issued a statement that read:
President Obama’s veto is disappointing of course, but not surprising. The President is once again ignoring the will of the people. The Affordable Care Act does not work for Alaska, and we continue to see that with the never-ending rise in healthcare costs. The question still stands: for whom is the Affordable Care Act actually affordable?
Since the beginning I have opposed the Affordable Care Act and voted against the original bill. I have continued to be an opponent of the ACA, recognizing that the one-size-fits-all bill would never work in a rural, sparsely populated state such as ours. I will continue fighting to find a solution that works for Alaska.
Murkowski didn't seem to think then that repealing Obamacare without a replacement would cause "confusion and greater uncertainty."
2. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) said on Tuesday that she couldn't vote for a Obamacare repeal bill because it would "hurt people." She didn't feel that way in 2015.
But in 2015, when Capito voted for the same bill, she said: (emphasis bolded)
Americans deserve a health care system that works for them and Obamacare is not it. I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk,’ Capito said in a statement. This legislation will enable us to revisit the problems caused by Obamacare and replace them with reforms that provide quality, affordable care for all Americans.
Now that the GOP is in a position to actually repeal Obamacare, Capito is no longer a reliable vote.
3. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is suddenly concerned about Obamacare repeal after championing his vote for it in 2015. On Tuesday, Portman told MSNBC that he was worried that a simple repeal vote would "add to more uncertainty and the potential for Ohioans to pay even higher premiums, higher deductibles."
"I'll take a look at it, but I'm concerned about something that would simply repeal, and its impact on cost and choices," said Portman.
This makes no sense given that Obamacare is the source of higher premiums and deductibles. Portman seemed to recognize that in 2015, when he voted in favor of the same bill: (emphasis bolded)
Obamacare is what happens when partisan legislation is forced through Congress without amendments, proper consideration, or bipartisan input. This broken law is making health care more expensive and jobs harder to find. We just learned that health care insurance costs in Ohio will skyrocket again next year, with double digit rate increases as high as 37 percent for some plans.
The Administration cannot fix Obamacare through ad hoc executive orders and unilateral actions. I’m pleased to vote to repeal it today and will continue to work to replace it with health care reform that is patient-centered and consumer driven that decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.
4. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) recognized in 2013 that Obamacare is unsustainable, yet she keeps voting to keep Obamacare in place. Collins has indicated that she'll vote no on the Obamacare repeal bill; she voted against the same bill in 2015. This is hard to reconcile with what what she said about Obamacare in 2013, when she called it a "disaster":
The Affordable Care Act is based on having very large pools of largely healthy people to subsidize the ill. And the law has resulted in high-risk pools going away in most states, if not all states, so it’s an entirely different approach. Now, with the delay of the employer mandate, with the fine for not signing up being only $95, which is a lot cheaper than insurance, and with the system in total chaos, and with choices being limited, I just don’t see how the system can work.
5. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) isn't convinced about the strategy of repealing Obamacare first before finding a replacement. But he seemed to like the strategy in 2015.
Repealing Obamacare first before deciding on a viable replacement seems like a pretty straightforward strategy. It's one that Johnson embraced in 2015: (emphasis bolded)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," has completely failed to live up to its name. President Obama repeatedly promised that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." Instead, millions of Americans were not protected when Obamacare was enacted, and their policies were canceled. President Obama also promised Americans they could keep their doctors. Instead, Americans buying plans on Obamacare's government-run "exchanges" are discovering that the networks of providers are often narrower, with fewer choices. Those promises were repeated by many of Obamacare's supporters and were named PolitiFact's 2013 Lie of the Year.
And instead of the "Affordable Care Act" making health care more affordable, the evidence shows that it has actually made health coverage more expensive.
As a result, I voted yes tonight with 51 of my colleagues to repeal most of Obamacare’s harmful provisions. The president should sign this bill so we can begin moving toward free market reforms that devolve power from Washington toward doctors and patients. If the president refuses and instead vetoes this bill, our repeal is a marker for what a Republican Congress again will pass in 2017 under an administration that is willing to admit the harm done by Obamacare.
It doesn't seem like the Republican Congress will be passing that bill anytime soon, and Johnson isn't helping by questioning the bill's strategy.
6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly promised to repeal Obamacare "root and branch." He has not followed through on that pledge. Instead, McConnell first tried to get the Senate to unite behind a bill that was basically a Republican version of Obamacare. After that effort failed, McConnell has thus far proven to be unable to unite his party behind an Obamacare repeal vote.
While it's certainly not easy to unite a party with a clear divide between conservatives and the more moderate-to-liberal types, McConnell brought this on himself:
This Obamacare repeal debacle should put to bed the notion that McConnell is some sort of master-legislating leader. He's only concerned about holding onto power.
7. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI). As Ben Shapiro has explained:
Ryan rammed a bad House bill through. He did so with some mild payoffs to conservatives. The bill was unpopular through and through. But Ryan wanted his Medicaid reform. Trump then ripped the bill as “mean,” leading to a rewrite in the Senate. At no point did Ryan and McConnell seem to coordinate their efforts with Trump. Perhaps that’s Trump’s fault. But Ryan has to do his job.
This is an important point because in 2015, Ryan did send an Obamacare repeal bill to the Senate and promised to send that legislation to the Senate again once Obama's presidency ended: (H/T: Conservative Review)
It's no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare, and we will hold a vote to override this veto. Taking this process all the way to the end under the Constitution. But here's the thing the idea that Obamacare is the law of the land for good is a myth. This law will collapse under its own weight or it will be repealed. Because all those rules and procedures Senate Democrats have used to block us from doing this that's all history. We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So next year if we're sending this bill to a republican president it will get signedinto law. Obamacare will be gone …
But Ryan sent the Senate a bill that merely trimmed around the edges of Obamacare. Had he coordinated with McConnell and President Trump to pass a simple Obamacare repeal bill and then focus on a replacement later, they could have avoided this whole debacle. Instead, it seems that Obamacare is here to stay.