The establishment healthcare bill appears to be on life support. The long awaited healthcare bill that was crafted in secret then presented as a binary choice to leery lawmakers was destined to fail. The bill which was almost instantaneously nicknamed "Obamacare-lite", was not only poorly sold, but it failed to keep a key Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Last week, President Trump, told Republican leaders that conservatives who fail to back the health care bill might face a primary, according to the Washington Examiner. The president made the comments at a meeting with House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, and other House whip members. This posture signaled just how serious the president was about passing this reform.
There are a few problems with these kinds of threats. Number one, this threat would put conservatives like Rand Paul, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Justin Amash, the entire freedom caucus, and even Ted Cruz in the cross hairs of Trump. If these statements are true, I don't have to tell you how bad this would be. Vice President, Mike Pence, even made a trip to Sen. Rand Paul's state likely to apply pressure on Rand to support the measure. Republican leaders are even airing $500,000 worth of ads in conservative member's districts, trying to put pressure on them as well. The president actually said he would fill stadiums during the primaries in order to punish Conservative lawmakers who oppose this. You've never seen the establishment go after moderate Republicans or Obama policies with so much spunk.
Ad that will be running in conservative districts to pressure support for Trumpcare
To be honest, I don't think this strategy will be particularly successful. For the most part, these are wildly popular politicians in their respective states. This will only serve to alienate the president from the Republican base and waste precious resources to hold or take more vulnerable seats in 2018. I understand the president won these districts in the general election, but that's beside the point when you're talking about Ted freaking Cruz in Texas. Also, running some establishment approved RINO in these places would only waste GOP resources and most RINO challengers would likely come up very short.
CBO Cost Estimate
This healthcare bill and the strategy being used to sell it, borders on intellectual dishonesty. First of all, healthcare is where the tidal wave of anti democrat policies started. People don't give enough credit to the fact that Democrats started losing ground in part due to the opposition to Obamacare. The congressmen that Trump threatened to primary have been fighting to repeal this legislation in its entirety for almost eight years. Most of these people were elected in the aftermath of Obamacare's passage by voters wanting a full repeal. With all due respect, Mr. President, you were nowhere to be seen for most of this fight. To your credit, you jumped into the fray quite forcefully once you started your campaign. The president is playing with fire. This bill won't solve the problems we have with healthcare. It won't lower cost and it won't install true free market healthcare. This bill does have potential, though. It has the potential of making you a one term president. It has the potential of making us lose Congress, and it has the potential of ushering in single payer insurance after Democrats fill those vacancies.
What is my problem with the establishment? Their double speak in selling this as a binary choice while simultaneously saying this is the most conservative thing since sliced bread. Speaker Ryan, said in 2012 that they could get rid of 85% of Obamacare through reconciliation, but now it seems like they can only take out a fraction of that amount. So either the speaker was lying then, or he's lying now. They also managed to repeal most of Obamacare through reconciliation, just last year. Besides that, they voted for repeal with no replacement 50 other times before that also. So either they were lying about the strategy then or there lying now.
American Healthcare Act
The final problem with these threats is that they defend an unquestionably flawed bill. The bill has been panned by almost every conservative and libertarian think tank and group. The bill which leaves broad portions of Obamacare in place and only nibbles around the edges. There's no wonder it's been virtually unpalatable to conservatives in Congress. On the bright side, the bill does slash billions from the deficit. It may also scare off a few moderate Republicans thanks to that CBO score. Because of this, the bill in its current state, won't pass the Senate, may not survive a House vote and may not make it out of committee either. Even after a controversial score by the CBO, this bill is hopefully destined to fail. As lawmakers tried to frame this as a binary choice, they forgot one thing. The promise they made to voters and that's why this bill will ultimately fail.
Side Note: The voters who were reluctant to tie this healthcare bill to the president have to get past this cult of personality. You're allowed to support a leader and disagree with him on certain issues. Remember, this is why we loathed die hard Obama supporters. We need principles over party and personality. So, those of you calling this "Ryancare" to shield Trump, understand the buck stops at the top.