Third Times the Charm, Unless You're Trying to Abolish Obamacare
By: Ariel Wodarcyk
Senate Republicans planned to repeal and immediately replace Obamacare with the AHCA on Monday night. At this point, the AHCA had already garnered a shaky reception; prior to the meeting, Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Rand Paul (Kentucky) had already come out in public opposition of the bill.
Down two Republican votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew he could not bring the AHCA to the Senate floor if even one more Republican came out in opposition of the bill. On Monday night, two Republican Senators, Jerry Mohan (Kansas) and Mike Lee (Utah), did just that.
On Tuesday morning, McConnell still held hope. He pushed for a different plan; to repeal Obamacare, without any replacement. The repeal-without-replacement plan would come with a two-year buffer period for the Obamacare replacement to be written. It would also leave 18 million more Americans uninsured, and raise health insurance premiums by “at least 20% in the first year”, and 40% by 2026.That same morning, Senator Collins reaffirmed her stance against the repeal-without-replacement AHCA bill. Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) also voted no, effectively squashing any hope McConnell had left of moving forward with the bill.
“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Sen. Capito said. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
Sen. Collins voiced similar concerns. "This bill would impose fundamental, sweeping changes in the Medicaid program," Sen. Collins told CNN’s “State of the Union.” "Those (changes) include very deep cuts that would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children, poor seniors.”
While many Republican senators fought strongly against Obamacare, they’ve yet to cobble up a plan with high enough approval ratings to replace it. Thanks to grassroots activists flooding their Senators with thousands of calls denouncing the AHCA, senators know they won’t be reelected to their positions if they support the bill. Activists have rallied together in town halls, led major protests, and been incredibly vocal on social media to decry the AHCA. Hashtags like #SaveACA, where users Tweeted the ways Obamacare has positively impacted their lives and how to call Senators to keep the plan in place, have taken Twitter by storm. Scripts for calling Senators in support of Obamacare have been circulated all over the Web.
Grassroots activism works, and it will continue to as long as activists keep fighting. Just because the AHCA hasn’t been passed yet, doesn’t mean the Trump administration won’t cease their longtime promise of tearing Obamacare down.