As you may have heard, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has decided to delay voting on the BCRA, the Senate’s version of Obamacare’s replacement.
This is, obviously, bad news for Donald Trump, who, since he is a man known for unreasonable expectations for himself and those working for him, was likely planning on going into the Fourth of July celebrations with some legislative successes to hang his Uncle Sam-style hat on.
Why would McConnell delay this vote? It’s simple: he doesn’t have the votes he needs. He’s hearing serious complaints about the bill from both the moderate and conservative wings of his party, and the bill in its current state just doesn’t have the math to get through the Senate. So, it looks like McConnell has opened himself up to keeping around some aspects of Obamacare, such as certain taxes on the wealthy to keep greater numbers of Americans covered.
Americans losing coverage is going to be the story of any Obamacare replacement. I may have said this before, but it’s worth saying twice. People can criticize Obama and the Affordable Care Act all they want; sure, Obama probably could have done more legislatively if he wasn’t dealing with Boehner and especially McConnell, who at this point has become a historically effective obstructionist (or would that be historically ineffective?). What’s more, Obama’s crowning achievement (besides helping to drag our economy out of the gutter W put it in) left much to be desired, as it pissed off all conservatives and didn’t go as far as many liberals had hoped.
But, and this is a big but right here, the Affordable Care Act increased coverage, prevented the most vulnerable of us to be totally fucked by health care companies who (like pretty much every entity besides the government) are only interested in making money and, shockingly, cannot always be trusted to do the moral thing when it comes to providing normal people health insurance. Moreover, it affirmed the principle that the rich should pay a bit more in taxes so that the working people of America don’t have to play kill, fuck, marry with food, medicine, and electricity.
In other words, even if Obamacare isn’t that good, it changed the way we think about healthcare so now any national healthcare-related legislation will be evaluated against Obamacare. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office, while 100% a reliable and non-partisan congressional office, has basically been turned into an ace-in-the-hole for the Democrats, since any reworking of Obamacare by a GOP administration is going to result in the massive loss of health coverage across the country, no matter how low premiums get.
In other words, Barry Obama was playing political chess with the GOP, and its nice to see him possibly getting the last laugh after Obamacare basically kamikaze’d any hopes of a Democratic congress for the rest of Obama’s presidency. And I do think Obama will get the last laugh here, because the best case scenario for the GOP still probably involves conceding the idea that the rich should pay more in taxes for the general benefit of the country. If Obama-era healthcare provisions can survive THIS congress and THIS president, then you can bet your bonnet that liberal administrations in the future will have their eye on much more ambitious healthcare reforms, perhaps ultimately culminating in Medicare for all.
Ultimately, I’m just happy that Obama is causing McConnell a few headaches after all McConnell put Obama through during his presidency. Now Obama’s off chilling somewhere, waking up at 9 (which is the political equivalent of waking up at noon), smoking a few doobies, and having a nice chuckle to himself about all the threatening “you better get this shit done or it’s your ass” calls McConnell’s getting from Trump’s people. Just another great day in the world of Barack Obama.