Ever since the Obama administration passed the Affordable Care Act,2010, better known as ObamaCare, the Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace the act. Past efforts have yielded little as Barack Obama, vetoed whatever the Republicans had managed to come up with. But now with a Republican in the White House and a Republican majority in both the houses it, the fate of ObamaCare was all but sealed.
President Trump repeatedly during his campaign trail said that he will repeal and replace ObamaCare in his first day in office and it would be easy to do so. The repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is proving to be much more tough than President Trump thought. After the bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare was rejected in the House of Representatives in March by his fellow Republicans, President Trump threatened to defeat the members of Freedom Caucus in the upcoming mid-term elections. The bill was later passed in May after much manoeuvring and negotiations and was passed on to the Senate for debate and subsequently having a vote on the bill. But as things stand the bill wasn’t even introduced in the Senate as some Republican senators publicly opposed the bill and thus the bill failed to get the numbers it needed to pass. As two conservative senators(Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas after Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine had already voiced their opposition to the bill)performed the last rites of TrumpCare, the President was playing with a fire truck sporting a cowboy hat and playing with a baseball bat(No, this is not a joke)having no idea what was going on in his party much to the dismay of senior Republicans.
The Democrats, presented a much more united front than the Republicans, stood firm on the bill and ensured none of their senators defected meaning Donald Trump needed almost every Republican senator to vote for the bill in order for it to pass. The 100 seat Senate is divided 52-48 in favour of the Republicans. For a bill to pass in the senate it needs at least 50 votes and as opposition grew to the bill on Monday it became clear that the bill would not pass in the Senate leaving Donald Trump red faced. The events that conspired in March, happened again on Monday. Donald Trump and his administration again struggled to find common ground between the moderate and conservative Republicans.
Donald Trump too on his part appeared confused. After the setback in Senate, an angry President went on record and said, “He will let the Obamacare fail itself” and no further action will be taken.
Immediately next day he urged the Republicans to give up their vacation and hosted a lunch at White House to get everyone on board. The conservative Republicans were of the opinion that Obamacare should be just repealed if the party cannot agree on a replacement. However, the moderates were strongly against such a move as millions would be left without healthcare and Trump is also of the same opinion. Thirty-two million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 if ObamaCare is scrapped without an alternative in place, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported, while 17 million would become uninsured next year alone.
At the same time, premiums on individual insurance plans would rise 25 percent next year and double by 2026.
Donald Trump refused to take the blame for the failure and said, “I am not going to own it” and again passed the blame on Democrats and “a few Republicans”. Despite having control of both the Houses of Congress, the failure of the bill must be owned by President Trump. That’s the nature of being elected president: – You own the policies, the economy and the government. You own the positives and negatives of the job whether you think it’s your fault or not. You live in the White House, you can’t disassociate yourself from what happens if you don’t like it. Trump never held a news conference or delivered a major speech to sell the bill to the public. He never leveraged his popularity among rank-and-file Republican voters by barnstorming the districts of wavering Republican senators. And he never spearheaded a coherent communications strategy beyond random tweets to push for the plan. Trump completely outsourced his healthcare plan to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. By doing this, he had little room for error and banked on the slender majority in both the houses to pass the bill. The Democrats were completely ignored and none of their amendments were even considered who in turn ensured no defections from their side. The Affordable Healthcare Act,2010 saw over 180 amendments by the Republicans whereas Trump refused to allow the Democrats to amend his healthcare plan. The House Democrats proposed 29 amendments to the bill, all of them were rejected.
Donald Trump has two options now, They can try to rewrite the plan in such a way that it can get 50 Republican senators on board, a seeming impossibility at this time or negotiate with the Democrats on a narrower measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge. Such are the profound divisions in the Republican party that Trump has a better chance by negotiating with the Democrats than the defecting GOP senators with minority Senate leader Chuck Schumer urging the Republicans to show bipartisanship.
Donald Trump and his administration are playing a dangerous game by sabotaging ObamaCare and seeing to it that it fails and without a replacement, it threatens millions of Americans. His administration are weakening enforcement that require healthy people buy coverage under Obamacare. He is also letting states impose onerous rules like work requirements on people seeking Medicaid and he has backed off on advertising and outreach designed to let people know about options for coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services has diverted funds appropriated by law for “consumer information and outreach” and used them instead to finance a social media propaganda campaign against the law that H.H.S. is supposed to be administering. Meanwhile, the department’s website, which used to offer helpful links for people seeking insurance, now sends viewers to denunciations of the A.C.A.
The U.S dollar to sank to a 10-month low as the news came about Donald Trump’s defeat in the Senate as markets increasingly lose confidence in the Trump administration. It is clear that the core of TrumpCare is unworkable and a repeal without replacement is not an option. It’s a test of his Presidency as the America watches with bated breath about Trump’s next move. But the first step must be owning of the failure. But with Trump’s hallmark unpredictability no one knows what he will do next and expect him to surprise one and all. Will the surprise be a pleasant one or not, that remains to be seen. But for now it is safe to say that that Obama is still making Donald Trump Anxious and Jittery!