On Wednesday evening, Senate Republicans lost yet another battle in their years-long war against Obacamare.
Earlier in the week – and despite claims to the contrary – Republicans reopened an effort to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.
The move came amidst a month full of speculation, intrigue, and, in the eyes of some, betrayal.
Since the Trump administration came into office in January, conservatives in Washington have made the dismantling of Obamacare a top priority.
After initially falling short on legislation, House Republicans managed to sidestep dismal figures from the Congressional Budget Office, passing off a hastily-prepared bill to the Senate in early summer.
The short-lived victory quickly gave way to dissent among members of the right, some of whom felt the repeal-and-replace initiative offered their constituents little more than a watered-down version of the same healthcare mandate they’d sought to sack from day one. Others, like Susan Collins of Maine, wondered what wisdom there was in ignoring the CBO’s cynical predictions.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had originally expected to see a vote on repeal-and-replace by the Fourth of July, he was forced to wait in face of uncertainty for the next two weeks.
Waning Republican support prevented the effort from proceeding even into the initial debate phase of legislation.
Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday evening in attempt to shame Republican Senators who stood in the way of an attempted Obamacare repeal.
The failure of Senate Republicans to come together and collaborate on what had long been viewed as a common cause provoked frustration from McConnell as well as the commander-in-chief.
Angry at the defections of senators like Collins, Trump still tried to put on a brave face – he boasted over Twitter that Obamacare would soon prove such a burden that even Democrats would have to work with him in creating a replacement.
The Senate’s Tuesday night rejection of an attempted ‘repeal-and-replace’ legislation may finally put to rest conservatives’ dreams of destroying the essential features of Obamacare.
A next-day attempt to force ‘repeal-only’ measures fell flat in face of a 45-55 divided Senate and warnings from healthcare providers.
Blue Cross, Blue Shield was especially vehement in its denunciation of any legislation that might do away with Obamacare’s ‘individual mandate’ without making insurance more affordable for Americans who might lose coverage.
While the path ahead for Republicans and the Trump Administration is now less clear than ever, Vox.com speculate on what the next several days may have in store.
The Senate is still scheduled to hold a 20-hour debate on the merits of healthcare reform, which could took up to two or three days if breaks are implemented between.
Following debate would be a ‘vote-o-rama’, during which Republicans and Democrats would vote on a series of amendments to the bill originally passed by the House. Vox speculated that liberals would likely take advantage of the opportunity to force their conservative counterparts into voting on and for politically disadvantageous measures.
Finally, Mitch McConnell may eventually offer a final substitute in the way of a ‘skinny repeal,’ which encompasses the changes to the Affordable Care Act that Republicans most want to pass.
Any measure would still require a majority of senators to vote in favor, with Vice President Mike Pence being able to cast a vote in the case of a tie.