Commentary: Republicans Should Remember the Lessons of the Scurrilous Path to Obamacare Passage

By George Rasley, CHQ

In 2009 Democrats, flush with victory in the 2008 election and in control of the White House, Senate and House – a victory won largely on jobs and economic issues – embarked, not on the passage of a job creation and economic reform agenda, but on a costly and politically debilitating government takeover of the healthcare and insurance industries.

The legislation, written behind closed doors by a handful of Democratic leaders in consultation with liberal consultants, was rammed through Congress by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-President Barack Obama.

Pelosi famously said at the time, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy” and Obama spent enormous amounts of his political capital framing the healthcare takeover as one of government acting to improve and reform the healthcare insurance market and selling the socialist utopian idea that access to healthcare unlimited by market forces is a “right.”

Both of these sales points turned out to be lies and everyone on the inside knew them to be.

MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, the architect of the bill said that if Americans knew the truth “the bill dies.” So the bill “was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes.” He adds that “the lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and that “the stupidity of the American voter . . . was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

Eight years later, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican President Donald Trump are embarked on a similar path.

Paul Ryan’s “repeal and replace” bill that is supposed to undo Obama’s takeover of the healthcare and health insurance markets does nothing of the sort, and is built on an ever-growing series of lies and congressional accounting tricks.

What’s more, Ryan is attacking conservative members of Congress who are skeptical of his Ryancare or Obamacare Lite plan with ads sponsored by John Boehner’s old anti-conservative PAC, the American Action Network.

The American Action Network – a group with ties to Republican leaders and the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC – said it would spend $500,000 against 30 Republican lawmakers, many of whom are members of the principled conservative House Freedom Caucus, urging them to support the House GOP’s “American Health Care Act.”

President Trump has been suckered by Ryan into spending his political capital on selling these lies to the American people, instead of focusing his efforts on what drew millions of Americans to his candidacy – job creation, restoring American sovereignty, the rule of law and economic and regulatory reform.

President Trump’s great error in this matter is spending his political capital in the belief that Paul Ryan and Capitol Hill Republicans can actually do a better job than Pelosi and Obama did of using government to manage the health insurance and healthcare markets – they can’t and they won’t.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator Rand Paul are two Republicans who get this problem.

Senator Paul has filed two bills this year regarding the Obamacare. At the end of January, he introduced a bill to replace Obamacare that was co-sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and he has a straight repeal bill similar to one introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

“Conservatives don’t want new taxes, new entitlements and an ‘ObamaCare Lite’ bill. If leadership insists on replacing ObamaCare with ObamaCare-lite, no repeal will pass,” Paul and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina wrote in a Fox News Op-Ed. “Nobody wants ObamaCare repealed more than we do. We think the only way to repeal ObamaCare is to separate repeal from replace.”

In an interview with Breitbart on Wednesday, Senator Paul accused Speaker Ryan of providing Trump with misleading information in terms of passing the new bill, saying Ryan is, “trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the president.”

Senator Cotton has also made his opposition clear and tweeted that the bill needs “major changes,” and he cautioned Republicans against acting “like Dems” by voting before a budget estimate is completed.

Senator Cotton is right. Speaker Ryan is acting just like Nancy Pelosi did in ramming through Obamacare with a strategy of lies, phony numbers and attacks on skeptical members of his own party. We hope President Trump isn’t going to get suckered into acting like Obama did, and try to sell Ryan’s Rinocare to a public that won’t be fooled twice.

The lies used to sell Obamacare and the failure of Obamacare to live up to its promises of lower cost and greater access to healthcare wrecked the Democratic Party’s brand and led directly to its devastating losses in the 2010, 2014 and 2016 elections.

We urge President Trump to take Senator Cotton’s advice. Don’t act “like Dems,” pull back, focus on job creation and economic growth and take the time to get the repeal and replacement of Obamacare right.

To stop Ryancare’s benefits for illegal aliens, massive new entitlements and big government we urge conservatives to contact the White House to let President Trump know he’s being suckered on this deal.

– – –

Reprinted with permission by

Related posts