In a testament to just how functional the relationship between congressional Republicans and the White House is, Republican senators reportedly didn’t even get a heads up that the Justice Department was going to try to kill Obamacare through the courts last week. And now, according to the Hill, some of them want the effort to fail, albeit “privately”—because, after all, we still are dealing with the GOP here.
In December, District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas ruled, insanely, that the individual mandate of Obamacare was unconstitutional, and also so integral to the Affordable Care Act that the 10,000-plus page law should be invalidated. Last week, the Department of Justice announced that it sided with O’Connor’s decision and would not defend the law; later, the New York Times reported that Trump, pushed by chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, had made the decision over the objections of Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr.
The Hill quotes three GOP senators, all of whom were of course anonymous, and all of whom dissed the plan. “If you’re looking strictly at political outcomes, it could be argued that a lot of members don’t want to see this struck down because they don’t want to deal with the fallout,” a “senior Republican senator” told the Hill.
Last week, Trump—riding a perpetual high since the release of the Mueller report summary, and never one to let the opportunity to waste a good opportunity go to waste—declared that the GOP “will soon be known as the party of healthcare.”
This, of course, ignores the fact that the Democrats control the House, something that happened partially because of the GOP’s failures on healthcare, making any GOP plan to replace Obamacare dead on arrival. It also ignores the fact that the GOP tried and failed to repeal Obamacare dozens of times during the Obama administration without ever actually offering a plan of their own, and also that they were still unable to repeal Obamacare or come up with a plan palatable to anyone in America with a brain while they had a unified government.
It’s been a decade since the ACA debate started. At this point, we all know that healthcare is kryptonite for the GOP. The GOP knows that. Everyone knows this—except, apparently, the White House.
Another senator, calling the strategy “not a good one for us,” told the Hill that if those in the White House “were really working to build something that had legs, you would have thought there were some conversations prior to Tuesday and there were none.”
Here’s a particularly good tidbit from the piece, indicating just what kind of great shape this effort is in (emphasis mine):
Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that a group of GOP senators, including Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), are going to come up with a “spectacular” ObamaCare replacement.
But a Senate GOP aide was doubtful, saying “I think he just sort of listed names” of senators who frequently work on health care issues.
Yes, these are all people I definitely trust with the future of American healthcare.