Since Donald Trump was elected president, I have stated often that the biggest test for both Trump and the Republicans will be whether or not they repeal Obamacare.
We have heard this “repeal and replace” nonsense since before Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee over 4 years ago. Romney had to run on that platform because he instituted something similar to Obamacare in Massachusetts before Obamacare ever existed. It made it tough for Romney to go after the entire legislation. He couldn’t make comments to the effect of “How could anyone be so stupid or so tyrannical as to force people to buy something?”
Since the Republican electorate’s blunder of putting Romney up as the nominee, we have heard “repeal and replace” a lot. But we didn’t often hear specifics on what the “replace” part would look like.
We finally found out recently with the legislation pushed by Paul Ryan. It became known by many as Obamacare lite.
The House Republicans have pushed legislation for an outright repeal of the so-called Affordable Care Act for many years now. Just last year, a bill finally reached Obama’s desk, which was promptly vetoed. The Republicans thought they had no risk of sending such a bill to Obama’s desk because they knew he would just veto it. But they thought wrong because now much of the country – at least those who are somewhat informed – see the Republicans in Congress as a bunch of hypocrites. Now that Trump is president, they aren’t voting on a bill for a full repeal.
Trump also looks foolish at this point. I know some will laugh at that remark, as half the country thinks he is foolish anyway. But he did get elected, even if he did not officially win the popular vote. He was elected because he took his message to the people and claimed to be an advocate of the average working American. He showed some empathy for the suffering middle class.
But one of the main reasons for the suffering middle class is the unbelievably high cost of health insurance. When a family of four is paying $10,000 or more per year for a policy that barely covers anything, that really puts a dent in their family budget. It makes it tough to take vacations, save money for retirement, or just get braces for the kids.
Of course, the entire government apparatus is a major problem as the federal government alone sucks up close to a quarter of our income. Then it burdens us more with regulations on almost everything. When you add up state, local, and federal spending, the total government spending is about the same as the median income for a family.
Trump has been decent so far in terms of advocating fewer regulations. But on the spending side, he has been mostly terrible. His little proposed cuts in domestic spending were offset by more military spending.
Despite all of that, the one major thing that Trump has to get right over the next 4 years is a lowering of health insurance premiums and medical care costs in general. If costs continue to go higher, even at a slower rate, then Trump is going to be smashed in the next election.
The people who voted for Trump want to see some real results. They took a risk with Trump. Or maybe they didn’t take a risk in the sense that they figured he couldn’t do any worse than the typical politician. But if Trump ends up being something like a typical politician, then he will surely lose the next time around. I am not saying that his supporters will be voting for Elizabeth Warren or whoever is the Democratic nominee, but some of his current supporters may get turned off of politics and stay home.
Trump made a massive mistake in working with the snake that is Paul Ryan. Perhaps that is an insult to snakes.
Trump really messed up this week when his administration basically said that if this legislation doesn’t pass, then Obamacare is here to stay. If that was supposed to be some kind of threat to the thirty or so conservatives in the House who oppose the Ryan bill, then they called his bluff really quickly.
If Trump had been smart, he would have proposed his own bill. He should have been working on it between the day after the election and his inauguration. It should have been a full repeal. He could have added in proposals to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines. He could have added in tax credits and expanded HSA accounts. Regardless, he needed a full repeal first.
Trump lost a lot of points in this political battle. This is still his first 100 days and he completely blew it. If he does not get Obamacare fully repealed, he is almost guaranteed to lose the next election if he even runs.
Paul Ryan also failed miserably. I am happy about this. He deserves to go down. He is the typical Republican politician who campaigned for smaller government and fiscal conservatism. He claimed to be a follower of Ayn Rand. He got into power and became a hack and a shill for big government.
This was the biggest test for the Republicans and they just failed. The fiscal conservatives who stood against the Ryan bill won this battle. This probably won’t be the end of it. If it is, then the Republicans are going down in less than two years and Trump is going down in 2020.