As President Donald Trump once again drags the Republican Party into a war over healthcare, GOP strategists and lawmakers are dreading the same mistake that cost the party the House in 2018.
Not long after Attorney General Bill Barr urged federal judges to overturn Obamacare, the landmark 2009 healthcare law that is supported by 53 percent of Americans, higher than Trump’s dismal approval rating, Trump declared the GOP “the party of healthcare” on Twitter.
Trump has been trying to kill Obamacare for years now, failing spectacularly in 2017 on multiple occasions despite the GOP controlling both the House and Senate.
Now he’s hoping the courts will do it for him. If that happens, healthcare would be stripped from over 20 million Americans, and so would pre-existing condition protections and other benefits that Americans enjoy.
Trump’s meddling has resulted in costs to rise, but the popularity of the program endures despite him. Its almost as if people actually like having access to healthcare.
Naturally, Trump expects Republicans to join him in waging war against healthcare again, apparently the result of renewed cockiness stemming from his recent escape from justice in the wake of the Mueller report. Now Trump thinks he can return to losing issues and turn them into winners.
The problem is that Republicans are just not that into it.
According to Politico:
Trump’s decision to jump headlong into another divisive health care effort — with Democrats in control of the House no less — shows that he isn’t shying away from conflicts, even those that could hurt vulnerable GOP lawmakers. In fact, Republicans had no real plans to pass or even necessarily plan for sweeping health care legislation as of 24 hours ago. And most in the party have been eager to put the disastrous effort to repeal Obamacare behind them.
But at Trump’s direction, that all seemed to change on Tuesday.
“His real mission statement of the day was: take up a Republican health care package,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
Not everybody was that eager: “I want nothing to do with this,” said one Republican senator scarred from the failed attempt to repeal the health law in 2017.
The reason why many Republicans would rather not jump back into the debate is that Democrats killed them with the healthcare issue in 2018, including in red state Arizona where a Senate race went to the Democrat after ads slammed the Republican candidate for voting to repeal Obamacare.
Even Republican operatives are stunned that Trump wants to return to fighting over the issue.
“They are completely tone deaf,” a GOP strategist told The Daily Beast. “How bout a few more victory laps on Mueller while you can get away with it? WTF is wrong with them?”
Other allies of the president also saw potential hazard ahead. When asked if he thinks it’s wise for President Trump and the GOP to go back down this road on Obamacare, Barry Bennett, a former senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said it “depends which part. Pre-existing conditions [protections are] widely popular.”
“The average health-care recipient won’t say, ‘It’s the evil courts that struck it down,’” said Tom Davis, former head of the National Republican Campaign Committee. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, Trump struck it down.’ That’s the problem. So there has to be a Plan B. And with Democrats controlling the House you’ll get a Plan B- at best.”
And Democrats already have the most popular plan to replace Obamacare because a whopping 70 percent of Americans support universal healthcare or Medicare-for-All.
Republicans are not going to offer that plan, which means anything they bring to the table is inferior and will look like they are trying to keep Americans from accessing affordable healthcare as the 2020 Election approaches.
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