Time to throw in the towel? Americans don’t like political quitters in general, but when it comes to ObamaCare, they’ve tired of the ideological war. Sixty-two percent of Americans want Congress to move on to other priorities rather than keep fighting over full repeal vs total protection of ObamaCare, according to a Kaiser Health tracking poll released this morning:
Six in ten Americans (62 percent) disagree with President Trump’s strategy of Congress not taking on other issues, like tax reform, until it passes a replacement plan for the ACA while one-third (34 percent) of the public agree with this approach. Republicans and Trump supporters are more divided in their opinion on this strategy with similar shares saying they agree and disagree with the approach.
Not surprisingly, three-quarters of Democrats want to move on to other topics, although one in five Democrats want to stay on this issue. The question was asked about working on a replacement plan for ObamaCare; do 21% of Democrats want it replaced? Hmmmm. Still, the news isn’t good for the GOP overall. Independents want to put an end to this effort by a 2-1 margin, 65/31, and Republicans only barely favor continuing it, 50/47.
On top of that, only 21% of overall respondents want the GOP to press forward on a repeal-and-replace plan on their own in future health-care reform efforts. Fifty-seven percent want Republicans to work with Democrats to improve the ACA rather than repeal it. A majority of independents agree (59%), while 34% of Republicans do as well. Only 49% of Republicans want the GOP to keep pressing on ObamaCare repeal, and 15% of Republicans want the party to dump the whole issue altogether.
As far as the idea of crashing ObamaCare to force a repeal, that’s …. not gonna fly:
Even a majority of Trump supporters oppose that idea, and only 40% of Republicans overall support that strategy. Right now, 60% of respondents believe that Trump and the GOP are now responsible for the performance of ObamaCare now that they control the government (including 36% of Republicans), and that number will only grow if Trump and Republicans actively undermine ObamaCare.
So what’s next? If this polling holds up, the most politic approach would be to start working on some incremental changes that can get Democratic support. However, the Freedom Caucus announced this morning that they will push a discharge petition to force a vote on the repeal-and-replace-later plan that emerged and failed in the Senate. From the e-mail announcement:
During Friday’s pro forma session, a petition to discharge H.Res 458, a clean repeal of Obamacare, became live for Members of Congress to sign onto. Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan (R-OH), Tom Garrett (R-VA), and Scott Perry (R-PA) were on the House floor to sign the petition. In the coming weeks, members of the Freedom Caucus will encourage their House colleagues to sign the petition, which will force a vote on the repeal of the same Obamacare language that already passed Congress in 2016.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said: “It’s critical that we keep our promise to the American people and repeal Obamacare and replace it with a policy that works for American families. We cannot drag this process out any longer. This bill – with a two-year delay on implementation of repeal – will force Congress to come together on a replacement bill. President Trump is eager to sign repeal and replace, it’s time we get to work and send both to his desk.”
This is a last-gasp strategy that’s almost certain to fail in the House, let alone the Senate. A discharge petition in the House requires the endorsement of a majority of members to bring a bill to a floor vote over leadership objections. It’s typically used by a united minority in hopes of getting enough members of the majority to get a floor vote on a bill opposed by a House Speaker and/or stuck in committee. There are no Democrats who will sign onto a straight repeal, and there aren’t enough Republicans to even get close to a majority. Even if it did somehow miraculously pass the House, the Senate already voted on it, and it only got 45 votes in Mitch McConnell’s vote-a-rama. Which five votes will magically materialize in a second round? Collins, Murkowski, McCain … anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Small wonder voters are tired of this debate; we’re already in summer re-runs.