Everyone Loses in Friday’s Non-Vote on Obamacare Future

Speaker Paul Ryan can spin the failure to bring repeal or replace of Obamacare on Friday any which way, but all to no avail. The Republican leadership was not ready for prime time and that is the stark fact.

It is not that the Democrats are gleeful and celebratory that should grate Ryan and those who chose to bring an unprepared House to a vote. It is the American people who will suffer as the inevitable collapse of the Democrats’ version of healthcare insurance affects millions of people, Republican, Democrat or Martian.

The vote was shelved, and a divided Washington thinks only of themselves and their party brand. There will be no second attempt anytime soon. Ryan said at a Capitol Hill news conference on Friday afternoon that the nation will be “living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

So take that, American people. Nobody wins and everybody loses. It is an anti-climactic ending to the long-sought resolution. And now the finger pointing begins. Who lost the Obamacare revision and who gains from its defeat?

President Trump is the biggest loser in this fiasco. This was a humiliating defeat for a president who campaigned as the ultimate deal-maker who could shake up a moribund Washington and get things done. The non-politician was taken to the woodshed on how not to change Washington in a mere two months in office.

Now the question is how will this affect other items on Trump’s agenda? The president tried to put a happy face on the mess Friday afternoon. But all he could really say was, “There’s not much you can do about it.” A sad remark considering he leads a majority of Republicans in both Houses of Congress.

Then there is an even bigger loser, in Speaker Paul Ryan. He was expected to ramrod his constituency into voting yes on the measure. The one word to describe Ryan now is impotent. Friday’s developments were at least as damaging for Ryan as they were for the president. Ryan could not get it through the House and that is deeply embarrassing for the Speaker.

Ryan’s DNA is all over the legislation. He erred by focusing on healthcare rather than tax reform out of the gate. And conservative media commentators are openly questioning his leadership. It was his baby with a new president trying to find his way and depending heavily on the experienced lawmaker.

Oh Trump says he is confident of Ryan’s leadership, but does anyone truly believe that? Ryan was unable to muscle his members into line.

Throw in Vice President Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to make the perfect storm of incompetence. They were of no use convincing the House Freedom Caucus of far right conservatives that Mulvaney was a founding member of.

It can be said that the conservative group won the battle. Where that will lead in the future is uncertain. But they are now a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party. More than any other Republican group, they were responsible for the failure of the legislation. They sank an effort to replace a law that many of the grassroots voters detest.

On the other end of the spectrum there are the originators of the law that is dying a bit more each day. The cheering section views it by their party label, but in reality something must be done to fix the inadequate law or it will crumble under its own weight.

But for the immense egos like Barack Obama and his signature legacy, it’s happy hour. His hatred of Trump far supersedes the needs of the American people. He abhors the White House, the Senate and the House controlled by people who have repeatedly pledged to destroy his dysfunctional baby.

Don’t forget the biggest political animal in the room other than Obama; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Through those wide, vacuous eyes, she sees not a single Democrat who broke ranks to support the Republican proposal. To her, it’s payback for the unanimous Republican vote against Obamacare in 2010.

Smilin’ Nancy is no surprise. A 10-year-old can figure that “mind” out. She took pleasure in the Republican disarray. In her foggy perception, she is vindicated for some of the most ridiculous claims of what the law would do for the American people although it is still a disaster no matter what happened Friday.

The Democrats can be giddy about the non-support provided to the failed attempt by such notable Republicans like Ohio’s John Kasich, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson and Michigan’s Rick Snyder. They wrote an open letter last week to Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch (do-nothing) McConnell (R-Ky.) stating that they could not support the legislation.

No one won this battle, but the American people lost. Obamacare must be fixed and everyone knows it, even through their partisan bickering and childish behavior. Where are yesteryear’s statesman who can cross the aisle and work with the other side? Whatever happened to polar opposites such as Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Republican President Ronald Reagan setting aside differences to get things done for America?

Republican, Democrat, independent or Martian, we all lost. Where are America’s leaders when we need them most?

paul ryan after the non-vote on obamacare.
Paul Ryan spins the Obamacare replacement failure.
Dwight L. Schwab Jr.
Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014," was published in July, 2014. "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Presidential Election in History," was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.