Chances for success this time around looked good initially, after House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (NC) and Tuesday Group co-chair Tom MacArthur (NJ) announced they had reached an agreement on legislation that would supposedly meet the approval of both the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party.
It was Meadows’ conservative group that spearheaded opposition to the previous bill, though a significant number of moderates also joined them in that effort. This time it’s the moderates – including MacArthur’s co-chair Charlie Dent – who say they will vote against the bill in its current form.
“Centrists opposed to the new bill are largely echoing Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who said the negotiations between Meadows and MacArthur only exacerbated his earlier problems with the bill … Dent, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, said he worried that people with pre-existing health conditions might be left without insurance because of the changes, something supporters of the bill have fiercely denied.”
Already more than 20 Republicans have stated they would not support the bill. If 23 Republican House members oppose it, Democratic support would be needed for the bill to pass – and the likelihood of that happening seems to be virtually zero.
The sad truth is that Obamacare will likely never be repealed. Oh, we may get some watered down meaningless bill that claims to do something, but the bulk of the ACA will never go away – and there are at least two major reasons for that.
First, Speaker Paul Ryan has thus far proven incapable of bringing the factions of his party together. In fact, one might argue that Paul’s questionable methodology of keeping the initial healthcare proposal under lock and key for as long as possible points to an unwillingness on the Speaker’s part to even attempt uniting House Republicans.
“ ‘I think we’re making very good progress. … We’re going to go when we have the votes, but that’s the decision we’ll make when we have it,’ Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Thursday at his weekly news conference.”
Which sounds an awful lot like a pre-emptive excuse for pulling yet another healthcare bill before it receives any official consideration. Apparently, the Speaker graduated from the leadership school of ‘Where are my people going, that I may lead them?’
Second, now that the insurance industry has taken its place among programs controlled by the federal government, any efforts to root it out would be met with heavy resistance – far more resistance than many members of Congress are willing to face.
Again from The Hill:
“Many vulnerable Republicans are running scared. One moderate Republican was overheard in a House cafeteria this week telling an aide: ‘If I vote for this healthcare bill, it will be the end of my career.’ “
Therein lies the problem. And though it’s easy – and correct – to lay blame on career politicians putting self-interest above what’s right, we must remember that if they didn’t have to answer to a self-interested populace, those representatives might be less concerned about having to buy votes every other year.
So as much as it may pain us to say it, Obamacare is probably here to stay. Just as Social Security did, it is quickly becoming an untouchable political third rail.