The Republican effort to amend the Affordable Care Act is halted until further notice thanks to the fact that several Republican Senators were not on board with the broken promises it represented.
For the longest time, Senator Mike Lee of Utah was on the fence about the bill, and days of radio silence on his social media feeds left me wondering which way he would go. I remained hopeful that he was going to end up against it, given that the inclusion of an (albeit extremely watered down) amendment originally supported by he and Ted Cruz didn’t get him on board immediately.
Tonight, as we reported earlier, Lee officially came out and effectively killed it, along with Senator Jerry Moran.
Conservatives owe Mike Lee a huge amount of thanks, because he has effectively killed this so-called Better Care Act – an act which, in reality, was no matter than what we already have under Obamacare.
Because of this, Trump called for full repeal now and replace later, which was followed up by a statement from Mitch McConnel’s office saying that repeal now/replace later would come to the floor for a vote later. This is perhaps the biggest conservative victory since Trump took office.
However, conservatives are not the only ones who should be thanking him.
McConnell and Senate Leadership owe Lee thanks for putting the bill to rest permanently instead of letting it limp along to failure under an actual vote. Had he not come out and said anything until the vote were happening, it would have been a major embarrassment for McConnell and gang, moreso than it is now.
Also owing Lee thanks would be the conservative Senators who felt like compromising on this would give them the opportunity to amend it and make it better. The truth is that there was no making this monstrosity any better, no matter how many amendments you add to it.
The bottom line is that the bill was atrocious. There was nothing about it that was truly good. The people who will claim Lee and the others are “making the good the enemy of the perfect” are fooling themselves into thinking they were doing a good thing. The bill was anything but that, much like the House bill, and killing it now means work can actually get done.
What kind of work? That’s up to the grown ups who might actually still be in the room and realize they ran on promises of repealing Obamacare, not amending it. Maybe there are enough of them to make some headway into actually improving the American health care system, not making it a more convoluted, over-regulated government scheme.
Whether there are or there aren’t, thank you to Mike Lee, and the others, who have put this beast to bed.