In about twenty-four hours we will know if Donald Trump’s White House and Paul Ryan’s House leadership can tackle the hard-core Freedom Caucus and get the Republican health care bill past the finish line. As it looks from the news reports I am monitoring that goal is doubtful. I have been quite confident from the start that this measure would not clear the House due to the quick fashion that the attempt was made, the lack of support from the wide array of interests that needs a buy-in, and the unprofessional way the White House has operated.
For all of the House Speaker’s attempts to whip the required votes for the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act it seems at noon the day before the vote they are at least 10-15 votes shy of passage. What may be even worse for the GOP leadership is if they allow the bill to the floor without a sure number for passage and the air then gives way from the balloon and all of a sudden there is a deluge of no votes. Pure embarrassment.
Trump has no knowledge of the health care debate and has no solid ground of conviction over the varying aspects of the bill. He is pretending to be some grand negotiator over this matter. He told voters that a businessman of his type would be able to govern and make deals so to produce “wins” for the nation. But with no experience in governing and a White House that is not fully staffed, and those who are there more bent on promoting nationalism than sound policy, underscores one reason why this bill is likely to hemorrhage congressional votes.
There is no way to square this very bad plan. Trump is trying to cast the bill as a prerequisite to passing all manner of other legislation that Republicans want, including tax reform. But conservatives want a faster and more complete repeal of the ACA, while moderates are not on board with provisions that would end Medicaid expansion. In the end I believe that the conservative hard-liners from the House Freedom Caucus will derail the legislation.
The only question I think to be answered is if the bill actually is sent to the floor.
But let us pretend that somehow the bill passed the House. When it reaches the Senate the matter is Dead On Arrival. Look at the numbers and the severe reprimands from even Republicans in the upper chamber being made to the press. Senate Democrats up for re-election in Republican-leaning states are united in opposition to the GOP health care plan. For them overhauling health care system is not just about policy. It’s a matter of right and wrong.
In 24 hours Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are about to be rolled—by their own party!