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November 30, 2023 11:22 AM UTC

Trump Again Promises to Repeal Affordable Care Act

  • by: Colorado Pols
The late Sen. John McCain’s infamous “thumbs down” vote against repealing the ACA in 2017.

Here’s a headline that most rational Republicans really, really, really don’t want to see in the next year: “Republicans Want to Repeal Affordable Care Act.”

Unfortunately for the GOP, they’re careening toward this very problem because Donald Trump is going to keep talking about Obamacare…whether Republicans like it or not.

Last weekend, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination announced — much to the delight of President Biden’s re-election campaign — that he still wants to have the fight over repealing the Affordable Care Act (Trump also claimed in 2017 that Republicans “essentially” repealed the ACA, but of course they did not). Trump’s announcement scared the bejeebus out of Republicans, who tried to hide their concerns with shrugs. As POLITICO reported earlier this week:

Yes, Republicans still say they dislike Obamacare and want to bring health care costs down. But as far as scrapping the law? “I don’t see that as being the rallying cry. I really don’t,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said.

“Boy, I haven’t thought about that one in a while,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said. “I just don’t know what [Trump’s] thinking or how we would go about doing that. That fight, as you know, was six years ago now. And so, if he’s got some ideas, we’re open to them.” [Pols emphasis]

In a Truth Social post over the weekend, Trump dinged the Senate GOP’s failure to repeal the law as a “low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!” Yet Republicans say they don’t feel the same political pressure to get rid of the 13-year-old law anymore.

“I don’t hear any Republicans talking about it,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who visits all of his state’s 99 counties and is a senior member of the Finance Committee. “I’m going to spend my time on rural health care and getting more doctors and stuff like that.”

Undaunted by this response from prominent Republicans, Trump on Wednesday doubled down on his call to end Obamacare. From NBC News:

Even as his party has backed away from the issue, Donald Trump is doubling down on his calls to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” if he’s elected president again.

“I don’t want to terminate Obamacare, I want to REPLACE IT with MUCH BETTER HEALTHCARE. Obamacare Sucks!!!” Trump said in a pair of late-night posts on social media.

Trump promised “much better Healthcare than Obamacare for the American people,” although he hasn’t offered a replacement plan.

The former president made a similar promise in 2016. The following year, he endorsed a Republican-led bill to undo a substantial portion of the law, repealing the ACA’s subsidy extensions and regulations in an attempt to lower costs on the open market. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that it would have rescinded insurance coverage for about 23 million people. It also threatened protections for pre-existing conditions. It fell short in Congress; as did his effort to get the Supreme Court to invalidate the law.

Republicans have abandoned plans to repeal Obamacare in the years since. But they’ve repeatedly struggled to craft alternatives that achieve the coverage extensions and consumer protections under the 2010 law, which was unpopular when Democrats first passed it and became popular as the GOP tried to nix it in 2017.

Via Josh Marshall at TPM

Smart Republicans are terrified of taking on another fight over ACA, because they know full well that there are several insurmountable problems with such a political strategy.

First and foremost, Americans are actually quite fond of the Affordable Care Act. A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll in May 2023 found that the ACA remains very popular, with 6 in 10 Americans expressing a favorable opinion of the act known also as “Obamacare.” Furthermore, a recent ABC News/IPSOS poll showed that Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue of health care by a 2-to-1 margin.

Republicans also have no idea what they would do for a replacement plan if the ACA were repealed. Senate Republicans failed miserably at trying to craft an alternative health care plan in Trump’s first year as President. Trump’s subsequent promises to introduce a new healthcare plan became a running joke that is still sprinting along today.

If Trump keeps beating this drum — and it sure sounds like that’s where we’re headed — then he’s going to force other 2024 Republican candidates to take a position on an issue that they would much rather avoid. For example, does Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-ifle) stand with Trump in opposition to the ACA or do the politically-smart thing and back away? What about Republicans running for Congress in CO-08, such as Gabe Evans and Scott James? Both may feel compelled to back Trump’s ACA repeal in order to win a Republican Primary, but that position could prove crippling in a General Election.

Trump is gonna do what Trump is gonna do, and Republicans are going to have to deal with that sooner rather than later.


3 thoughts on “Trump Again Promises to Repeal Affordable Care Act

  1. Trump has zero credibility on this issue considering what he repeatedly promised and never delivered, but I guess he just can't stop lying about it. WTF. 

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