EDITORIAL: Art of the Fail

The York Dispatch
  • The GOP has had about seven years to produce a workable alternative.
  • So what do Republicans do now that they control all levers of power in Washington?
  • They choked. Big league.

In hindsight, maybe the Republicans should have had a Plan B.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announces that he is abruptly pulling the troubled Republican health care overhaul bill off the House floor, short of votes and eager to avoid a humiliating defeat for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It turns out health care reform is kind of complicated. It’s like math. Or origami.

“Nobody knew,” the president himself Trumpsplained to reporters last month.

And by the way, who knew the Freedom Caucus was so fussy?

It’s as if these guys won’t be happy until "Obamacare" is burned to the ground and the ground is salted. Then paved.

We’re just pulling your leg.

Everybody and their mother knew these things, as well as the many other obstacles the GOP faced in rushing to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act without actually having a better plan.

The GOP has had about seven years to produce a workable alternative.

During that time, Republicans in Congress voted  about 60 times to repeal, gut or defund the Affordable Care Act — knowing each time they didn’t have to produce a replacement because their efforts, even if successful, would never survive President Barack Obama’s veto pen.

Each of those votes meant nothing, and they all knew it.

But now there’s a Republican in the White House, and the party is in firm control of both the House and Senate. Remember: Through every election in recent memory, they all whistled, “Obamacare is a disaster!” and “Repeal and replace!”

After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

So what do they do now that the pressure is on?

Last week, in the middle of March Madness, House Republican leaders threw up a brick with no support.

They choked. Big league.

Ryan falls short in first test of Trump presidency

“Art of the Fail” is more like it.

It turns out a lot of people kind of like Obamacare or parts of it, at least compared to the half-baked plan presented by the House Republican leadership.

Analysis: The outsider dealmaker faltering in White House

A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll released late last month found 48 percent favor the Affordable Care Act, compared to 42 percent who oppose it. That's the highest level of support for the health care law in 60 Kaiser polls taken since 2010.

On the other hand, a Quinnipiac University poll released last week found 56 percent of Americans disapprove of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, while just 17 percent support it. Among just Republicans, only 41 percent approve of the plan, while 24 percent oppose it.

And 46 percent of the respondents said they would likely hold it against their senators or representatives in the next election if they voted for it.

Statement from Congressman Perry after health care bill pulled

They would be right to do so.

The bill would push 24 million people into the ranks of the uninsured by 2026 and disproportionately harm sick, poor and elderly Americans, according to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office review.

Yet, White House spokesman Sean Spicer acknowledged Wednesday, there was no “Plan B” if the bill went down in flames.

Not surprisingly, Democrats wanted no part of this mess, and the bill — which went too far for GOP moderates and not nearly far enough for hardliners in the Freedom Caucus — could survive no more than 22 Republican defections.

Last-minute concessions to on-board the Freedom Caucus, of which our own Rep. Scott Perry is a member, pushed the bill hard to the right and only served to cause more moderates to jump ship.

After one delayed vote Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a planned vote Friday and shelved the bill for the “foreseeable future.”

Maybe now that they have that out of their system, Republicans will reach across the aisle and actually work to revamp the Affordable Care Act, which even Democrats acknowledge needs the attention.

It can work, if lawmakers are truly interested in improving the lives of Americans rather than simply checking off an unrealistic campaign promise.