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7 Whole Years and Still No Healthcare From the GOP

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) walks past reporters inside the US Capitol on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sen. Lee said he would vote no Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's bid to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

You can do a lot in seven years if you really work at it. The world has seen a seven year war; cicadas come out of the ground every seven years; Maxwell drops a new album about every seven years. Saturn revolves around the Sun every seven years or so. In other words a lot of global, amazing and world-altering things can be accomplished over the course of seven years. Apparently one of those things that can't happen in seven years is creating a healthcare bill that is better than the one you claim to hate. After pouting, stamping their feet and running on repeal for almost seven years, the Republican Party has effectively killed their own healthcare bill in the Senate. Not because it was too hard, or because it was financially unfeasible, or even because it was too soon. No, they can't pass the bill because the current version just, Isn't. Mean. Enough. #MAGA

On Monday night in a move so petty that President Trump himself could have come up with it, Republicans Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) both released statements saying they could not support the newest version of the Senate Repeal and Replace Bill. This was literally minutes after President Trump had finished a strategy dinner with Republican leaders on how to vote on the bill this week. The reason the two Senators can't support the bill? Basically it's not harsh enough, and both want the entirety of the Affordable Care Act repealed, not only some parts of it, which is what the current Senate bill does.

Now to clarify, Republicans have changed their position on what to do about Obamacare more times than Jared Kushner's had lawyers, but this latest move by two Senators puts the entire message of the party over the last seven years into doubt. Initially Republicans wanted to just repeal the Affordable Care Act, and they voted on that over 40 times and managed to even get a bill to Obama's desk in 2016 which Obama vetoed so hard Mitch McConnell couldn't obstruct for a week.

Then, once millions of Americans began to enjoy some aspects of the ACA, the Republicans changed their tune to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. Now, with a Republican President, control of the House, the Senate and more than half 50 states with Republican governors they still can't manage to get repeal and replace passed. With four Republican Senators, the two recent defections as well as previous "No" votes Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY), the Republicans have no chance to reach the 50 votes needed to pass a replacement bill, now they can only hope to repeal the ACA and suffer what could be devastating consequences at the ballot box next year. But since when has passing a public policy that the actual public hated ever stopped the Republican party in the last 8 years?

McConnell calmly taking the wheel from Trump's wobbly-legislation's burning hands, has now threatened to just push a repeal bill out there and see what sticks. To be clear, a repeal bill of the ACA would mean the following would happen, either immediately, by the end of 2017, or within a few years.

1. Insurance companies can go back to charging people with pre-existing conditions (like pregnancy) more money.

2. Over 23 million Americans would lose coverage either through Medicaid reduction, kicked off their parent's plans, employers dropping coverage or being priced out of the market.

3. Doctors could go back to putting leeches on the stomachs of wayward women during their menses.

Okay, perhaps these are a little exaggerated, some studies show that 20 million people would lose coverage not 23. The point is, the GOP has had seven years to come up with a policy replacement and can't do it. Now rather that fixing the existing law, or perhaps taking more time to work out an effective replacement they're just going to blow the whole thing up and hope that no one notices when they can't go to the eye doctor anymore.

Regardless of how one feels about the Affordable Care Act, the utter failure of the Republican controlled federal government to come up with a coherent policy 'solution' after seven years is disturbing. This is something that they have run on, and talked about for years but when given the chance to lead they have flinched. This really doesn't bode well for what this government will be able to do when faced with a problem that they didn't actually cause themselves.

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