The time has come to ask if the Senate Republicans really believe it is in their short-term political interest to enact a sweeping repeal and replacement of the health insurance law.
GOP caucus members have expressed public concerns involving the measure’s potential impact on state budgets, premiums, uninsured individuals and mandates.
Once the president signs any agreed-upon bill, responsibility sets in for those who sent it to him.
Jointly with President Donald Trump, they will own all the new system’s flaws, even just glitches in the rollout, as far as public perception goes.
Democrats will keep denouncing it as a tax cut for the wealthy on the backs of the middle class and poor. Doctors, businesses, hospitals, state governments and insurance companies will surely see problems as they do with the current law.
No matter the changes, the law is unlikely to live up to Trump’s billing.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said before his inauguration. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
He said he’d have a health plan with “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.”
Now, cursing the darkness that the Republicans almost unanimously ascribe to Obamacare just might prove more expedient for the GOP going into midterm elections next year than having to defend a new, inevitably complex system.
Consulting two public polls last week might give GOP lawmakers little incentive to rush into anything.
According to a USA Today/Suffolk University survey, only 12 percent of Americans said they support the Senate bill while 53 percent said Congress should either leave Obamacare alone or fix flaws within the existing framework.
Another poll, by Politico/Morning Consult, found a more positive 38 percent approval. Of course, both polls revealed a deep partisan divide.
Neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor House Speaker Paul Ryan appear to be in a terrible state of crisis over the current mess. Neither seems to be facing insurrection from members over the delay. Neither is heard threatening their members with political ruin if they don’t come around.
A pro-Trump political committee attacked Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) for saying he wouldn’t back the bill “in this form.” But the ad was withdrawn.