The long wait is over for Republican plans to adjust/repeal Obamacare. They will begin the alterations through Congress this spring. Two of the top Republicans in Congress on Monday said they are pushing ahead with the plan to begin repealing Obamacare despite any confusion caused by President Trump.
With cameras and microphones in their face, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters that he is working off of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) timeline of moving repeal legislation by the end of March. It is a certainty that had they said it would be next week instead, the opposition would cry foul even louder.
The Senate chimed in also. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, told reporters that a repeal bill under the fast-track process called reconciliation could come up in the Senate even within the next 30 days. Donald Trump indeed has a plan that will have a shorter timeline than the seven-years since its inception without a single Republican vote.
The Republicans, under intense scrutiny for anything they say or do in the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency, risk further criticism with their ambitious timeline. Repeal and replacement is very dear to liberal Democrats who will be enabled with a compliant media to undermine the procedure immediately.
Trump actually told Fox News on Sunday, “Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year … very complicated.” The billionaire businessman knows better than anybody in Washington that no matter what he says, it will be interpreted by his many critics as not enough to put forward a replacement plan.
The initial repeal bill under reconciliation is just the beginning of the process, and a series of smaller bills will follow. Trump is looking at the healthcare law as the people’s pocketbook while the opposition is looking at it as their former leader’s “legacy.” There is a big difference that every American should understand in dollars and cents. One party considers it to be the government’s money while the other side considers it to be the taxpayer’s money.
Trump faces the accusation of stalling on some elements of replacement in a step-by-step process. It will call into question Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare “essentially simultaneously.” Those are words he should never have uttered and were said in the heat of passion, as are many things the boisterous president says.
Elements of the replacement will surely lead to talk of a filibuster. That would seem much more reasonable than one over a Supreme Court nominee, who by any standards is a slam dunk for the job. Democrats need to learn when and where to pick their fights to keep their political credibility and not that of a regional party, which they have become.
Many nervous Republicans are anxious to promptly repeal the bill and pass a replacement at the same time. But there will be tough disagreements on what the replacement should look like. One looming question is how to handle the inevitable expansion of Medicaid.
It would be helpful if the two parties could work together in the stark reality something major has to be done with President Obama’s “legacy.” But the present political environment of disbelief over the election results is keeping the legislative branch of the government paralyzed as the executive branch calls the shots without advice and consent.
Where are the legendary past members of the Senate like Everett Dirksen and Hubert Humphrey when the country needs them most? One has deep problems seeing the image of those men in Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer.