Repeal effort ‘needs to be dropped completely, even if it means we have to eat crow…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Some Congressional Republicans dismissed talk of another attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act, even as President Donald Trump moved to invalidate the Obama-era law.
For years, Republicans have campaigned on the promise to repeal and replace the ACA.
But only recently had courtroom victories given new life after legislative efforts under a Republican-dominated Congress failed to repeal it.
The Trump administration this week filed a legal request to strike down the health law.
A federal judge in Texas previously declared it unconstitutional since the regulations that formed the basis of an earlier Supreme Court decision upholding the law had been repealed.
But weather-beaten by their opponents’ Obamacare scare tactics during the 2018 midterm races, vulnerable Republicans in Congress were fighting the effort out of fear that it could hurt them on the campaign trail.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly told Trump in a phone call that the president’s move to get rid of the entire ACA was a mistake, according to Axios.
He told Trump that the decision made no sense since healthcare was such a hot issue for voters. According to Bloomberg News, it was cited as the top issue for 2018 midterm voters—who also tended to favor Democrats over Republicans.
McCarthy isn’t alone: Both conservatives and moderates in the GOP have made it clear that they have no desire to re-litigate Obamacare.
“I’m appalled,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told Axios of Trump’s decision.
But after siding with Republicans on another high-profile vote—the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh—Collins already faces the daunting prospect of a major re-election battle, with Obama national security advisor Susan Rice tweeting that she intends to run.
Leftist radicals also launched a crowdfunding campaign that had raised nearly $4 million for Collins’ yet-unnamed future opponent.
However, the Maine senator took a more principled stance against Trump’s legal wranglings, emphasizing the obligation of the Justice Department to uphold the law.
“I think the Justice Department has a duty to defend the duly enacted laws … I was surprised and disappointed. If the president disagrees with a law, then he should ask Congress to repeal or change that law. He should not try to get rid of it through the courts.”
Collins told News Center Maine she would oppose any action the Trump administration takes against Obamacare.
“This is something I vehemently disagree with, and I hope that the courts do not go along with what the Justice Department has requested,” she said. “This is many times worse because now the Justice Department is trying to strike down the entire law, rather than trying to invalidate just provisions that the Department views as unconstitutional.”
In order to gain Republican support, Collins said, Trump must “have a detailed plan that is going to be an improvement over the ACA.”
Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, said the administration will be releasing its replacement plan in the coming months.
“I’m anxious to see what the White House is going to recommend in terms of a healthcare delivery system that looks like somebody designed the damn thing on purpose,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said on Wednesday.
However, most Senate Republicans refuse to go anywhere near Trump’s plan. They didn’t ask Trump any questions about a potential replacement plan when he joined them for their weekly conference lunch on Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner.
Instead of pursuing a repeal of the ACA, many Republicans want to focus on Democrats’ new calls for universal, socialized healthcare—especially as they move into the 2020 election cycle.
“Democrats are pushing a ‘Medicare for None’ scheme that would make it unlawful to provide the private health insurance policies that American families rely on and force everyone into a brand new government scheme designed here in D.C.,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
An administration official slammed congressional Republicans for their weakness on healthcare, noting that Trump shouldn’t face opposition from members of his own party.
“Burying your head in the sand and wishing the issue of health care goes away didn’t work in the midterms and it won’t work this time,” the official told Axios. “Obamacare’s failures are obvious to everyone, and if Republicans abandon the field there’s no obstacle to a fully socialized system.”
Some congressional Republicans said they think Trump is trying to pressure them into finding a legislative solution by applying pressure through the courts.
“I just don’t think that’s the right way to go,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said. “That puts a lot of Americans in harm’s way.”