Friday, March 24, 2017


On Friday, President Donald Trump failed. House Speaker Paul Ryan failed. The health care plan they pushed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) failed.

Trump blamed Democrats for the defeat. It was, however, conservative republicans who believed the legislation did not go far enough, and moderate republicans who thought too many Americans would lose their health care, face significant new costs, and face barriers to care, who did not vote for the legislation.

The legislation, for now, has been shelved. Obamacare remains the law of the land. Trump said Obamacare will “explode” because of high premiums and the Democrats would seek a deal within a year. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan conceded, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

Obamacare needs repair. Just about everyone agrees. Obama’s signature health care legislation was expected to be improved over time. Democrats have said the want to work with Republicans to make the improvements. Perhaps now Democrats and Republicans will work together, not to repeal and replace, but to improve on what already exist for the benefit of all Americans.

Robert Reichs comment:

Here's Trump's lame attempt to save face: “I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal," he told the Washington Post this afternoon. "And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them. The beauty is that they own Obamacare… . The biggest losers today are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own the disaster known as Obamacare.”


1. The Affordable Care Act won’t explode. As the Congressional Budget Office concluded in its report last week, the Act is not in a “death spiral.” As premiums rise, subsidies also rise. So the 80 percent of beneficiaries who already receive subsidies won't be hurt at all. If premiums continue to rise, many in the remaining 20 percent will also qualify for subsidies.

2. In any event, whatever happens to the Affordable Care Act from now on, it's not Democrats who “own” it. Republicans own it. Hell, they run the entire government. They had a chance to come up with a replacement for the Act. They utterly failed. So now its theirs.

Here is Dan Rather’s take:

Stunning. A complete defeat that I don't think anyone would have predicted in the manner that took place. Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare on day one of his presidency. He promised a health care nirvana of lower premiums, choice and better care. The GOP have been demonizing the Affordable Care Act for 7 years and yet here we are. The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Who knew healthcare was hard?

The morass of blame is only beginning. As he just told New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, this is "the Democrats fault." We'll see how that plays with the public and with history. Mr. Trump is wounded and he will try to do his usual two step of taking credit for everything and blame for nothing. It is a dance that I think was already old for a majority of Americans. And if recent polls are to be believed even some of his voters are getting weary. And let's remember we are just over two months into his presidency.

I have never seen such a staggering loss so early in a term. We have long left charted waters with this administration. And our ship of state bobs amidst ominous waves.

The damage isn't limited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Many Democrats never understood Paul Ryan's golden boy wonk status. But that aura has also been deeply and perhaps irrevocably tarnished by this health care failure. And the difficulty was expected to be in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Russian shadow continues to darken.

By Stephen Collinson, Dana Bash, Phil Mattingly, Deirdre Walsh, Lauren Fox and MJ Lee, CNN