It has been less than one day since Donald Trump and Paul Ryan suffered the greatest humiliation of their respective political careers. The ramifications of the Republicans’ failure to push Trumpcare through the House are still sinking in, but this much is clear: Republicans, who control the House, Senate and the White House, have failed – in spectacular fashion – to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
An analysis in the Washington Examiner goes so far as to call this failure “the biggest broken promise in political history.” Writes Phillip Klein: “Republicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, over the course of four election cycles. They won the House majority in 2010 in large part because of the backlash against the passage of Obamacare …[and yet] Republicans were always moving the goal posts on voters.”
“That is, during campaign season, they made boasts about repeal, and then once in office, they talked about procedural complications. In 2010, they campaigned on repeal, but by 2011, they said they needed the Senate. In 2014, they won the Senate, but by 2015 they said as long as Obama was in office, nothing would become law. In 2016, they told conservative voters, even reluctant ones, that if they voted for Trump despite any reservations, they’d finally be able to repeal Obamacare. In November, voters gave them unified control of Washington. And yet after just two months on the job, they have thrown in the towel and said they’re willing to abandon seven years of promises.”
Having screamed “repeal and replace” for seven straight years, Republicans had the opportunity to make good on their promise this week. They could not deliver. Whether this was the biggest broken promise ever is debatable, but what is not debatable is that the health care coverage of 24 million Americans has been saved – for the time being.