After this week’s Republican losses in the House of Representatives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has essentially given up the eight-year effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, according to the Washington Post.
“I think it’s pretty obvious, the Democratic House is not going to be interested in that,” McConnell said, suggesting that they instead try to work on healthcare reform “on a bipartisan basis.”
The GOP promised voters again and again that they would “repeal and replace” the ACA since it was first passed in 2010.
“The Republicans set out to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare but ended up being defined by the Democrats to devastating effect this cycle,” Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and fundraiser, told the Post.
Now that the Democrats control the House, there will be no way for Republicans to revive a repeal effort. But Democrats also acknowledged their struggles over the years to control the narrative around the ACA, which still left many Americans struggling to pay for healthcare.
“When you don’t defend something over a decade, you get your head kicked in, which we did for a lot of years,” Sen. Bob Casey told the Post.
Even in the face of aggressive Republican smear campaigns, popular support for ACA provisions, like covering pre-existing conditions, put Republicans running in the midterms in a difficult position. McConnell accused Democrats of pushing the “phony issue of whether or not we were for or against preexisting conditions,” adding, “I suspect it may have worked some places.”
Not only did issues around healthcare seem to drive votes to Democrats, Medicaid expansions were passed by ballot measure in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah.
But not everyone is ready to give up yet.
“I think it needs to be repealed,” conservative media personality L. Brent Bozell III told the Post. “There’s a solemn commitment that the Republican Party made with its base, and to end this effort is to betray them.”