When the Justice Department decided to support an effort in the courts to eradicate the Affordable Care Act, many assumed that President Trump and the Republicans were set to make a renewed push for repeal and replace in the legislature. This (understandably) concerned many top Republicans on Capitol Hill, who do not look back on the first effort with much fondness. Unable to get even a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare through the Senate in 2017, these Republicans see little chance of doing better in 2019, especially considering that Democrats have control of the House.
On Monday night, President Trump confirmed that healthcare legislation would wait until his second term.
“Everybody agrees that ObamaCare doesn’t work,” the president tweeted. “Premiums & deductibles are far too high – Really bad HealthCare! Even the Dems want to replace it, but with Medicare for all, which would cause 180 million Americans to lose their beloved private health insurance.
“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare,” Trump continued. “In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America. Also, Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions. The Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great HealthCare. Meantime, the USA is doing better than ever & is respected again!”
The White House has leaned on Republican Senators John Barrasso, Rick Scott, and Bill Cassidy to put their heads together and come up with a new healthcare law that can replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump is reportedly uncomfortable with the fact that this remains one of his most high-profile unfulfilled promises of the campaign. Not only does he suspect that Democrats will use it as a big issue in 2020, it has fueled his ongoing disdain for the late John McCain, whose surprise “no” vote sank the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace the unpopular law.
But Trump and the Republicans in Congress are right: Now is not the time. There is no way for Republicans to negotiate their way to an ACA replacement with obstructionist Democrats in the House. Pelosi knows that her minions are looking forward to using this issue on the campaign trail, and she’s not about to take that away from them. If Republicans were to try, it would either end in another failure or give us something even worse than Obamacare. Hold off, wait and see what 2020 brings us, and then go all out when you regain the majority in the House.