Some Republicans now claim that Donald Trump's election explains why their unpopular health care bill is so lousy. But the facts show that the party's disinterest in helping people is completely to blame.
Republicans are circulating a new and absurd explanation for why their health care bill grinding its way through Congress is horrible and convoluted, unpopular, and just bad.
And it sure sounds a lot like a child explaining to their teacher why the dog ate their homework, except with even less credibility.
They are actually trying to claim the present situation is a total surprise to them, one they want to blame on Donald Trump winning the presidency.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), said at a town hall meeting, "I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn’t. So we didn’t expect to be in this situation."
TOOMEY: — how difficult it is to get a Republican consensus. Until the election last fall, which surprised me — let me just be very clear: I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So we didn't expect to be in this situation and given how difficult it is to get to a consensus, it was hard to force that, until there was a need to. And so, that's what we've been working on.
I will also say that there's been a new wrinkle in this, right? The early version, the early idea of how we would handle this difficult challenge, was to pass a repeal bill that would be pretty much a clean repeal, stabilize the individual market, and set the repeal effective several years hence, and have the opportunity in the meantime to work out the reforms. That's all been collapsed now into a shorter time frame.
This is a complete abdication of responsibility, not to mention totally nonsensical.
And it shows just how unserious the Republican Party is, especially about an issue as important and wide-reaching as health care.
Trump's electoral prospects should have had absolutely nothing to do with the seriousness of their health care proposals.
For years, after President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats put together and passed the Affordable Care Act without the help of a single Republican, the party pushed repeal of the bill with phony legislation.
Republicans voted over 50 times to repeal Obamacare, but they knew that those bills had no chance of becoming law — they wouldn't be considered by the Senate, and even if they had been, Obama would have vetoed each and every one.
That is no excuse for one of America's two major parties to take such a joke of an approach to health care, and one that it has continued with as it took over all the levers of power in Washington.
The Republican approach can easily be contrasted to the Democratic one, in which both Hillary Clinton and Obama presented health care plans during the 2008 primaries, with the intention of implementing them in the presidency.
That is exactly what Obama did after he took over in 2009, after passing the Recovery Act, which he and top Democratic policymakers worked out before he got into office. Both signature bills demonstrated a serious approach to topics which are not academic exercises, but rather far reaching regulation that has affected the lives of millions while touching on billions of dollars in the economy.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) admitted to the Washington Post that Republicans "just simply don’t know how to govern" and they continue to prove his point.
In 1993, Republicans rallied to defeat the health care proposal pushed by President Bill Clinton. In the decades that followed, the party failed to seriously address health care, even when they had complete control over Washington under former President George W. Bush. It was not an issue on their radar, and they had no demonstrated interest in any attempts to push towards universal care.
Only after Obamacare passed into law and survived the multiple Supreme Court challenges conservative Republicans made against it, did the GOP push for their nihilistic and cynical repeal campaign, which has culminated in the mess we see today.
The Republican health care bill's draconian treatment of the most vulnerable Americans is a feature, not a bug, and it has little to do with Donald Trump's unfortunate election. This is surely the same plan Republicans would be offering had Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio won the Republican nomination and the general election.
They would be as unprepared to govern if any of those figures had won, because they simply do not care about health care, beyond kneejerk opposition to an accomplishment achieved under Obama.
Republicans cannot govern, and their health care bill is the proof. They aren't interested in solutions for millions of people, but care deeply about sloganeering and an unpopular tax cut for the ultrawealthy.
Trump's election put this legislation on a path towards possible success, but his win isn't why it is so bad. That is the fault of the entire Republican Party, not just one campaign.