INDIANAPOLIS – Votes by Congressmen Messer and Rokita for the Republican health care overhaul could have major negative repercussions should they run for Indiana’s Senate seat in 2018, Jack Colwell wrote yesterday in the South Bend Tribune. Republicans now find themselves playing defense on health care after forcing through their bill two weeks ago that would cause seniors’ health care rates to skyrocket and slash funding for HIP 2.0. So while Republicans may claim that the House has done its work, Colwell writes, “the last thing they want” if they plan on challenging Joe Donnelly is for their unpopular bill to become law.
The focus of the political stethoscope, for so long examining the poor health of Democrats who voted in Congress for Obamacare, shifts now to measuring the prospects for political health of Republicans who voted for Trumpcare.
A health care plan, especially if complicated and pushed through without the public or even supporters in Congress really understanding the effects, can cause terrible health problems for those who vote for it. Democrats learned that. Will Republicans now learn the same lesson?
There is no doubt that Trumpcare will be a major issue in the 2018 elections. Polls show it is unpopular, just as Obamacare was when Republicans hammered it and Democrats to win congressional elections.
Now, ironically, just as Republicans control Congress and the presidency and can repeal it, provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, have become popular. A Gallup poll shows 53 percent approval of Obamacare, highest favorability ever, for the first time over 50 percent. So the GOP is having a difficult time figuring out how to dump it without severe health care and political health woes.
The monstrosity pushed through the House, without hearings or analysis of the cost and impact of what was put together with arm twisting and political dealing, is no answer to the nation’s health concerns.
It was passed quickly so that President Trump could claim a victory after unflattering reviews of his first 100 days. He gleefully celebrated passage with a Rose Garden rally. He called the thing “incredibly well crafted.”
House Republicans who voted to pass it know better.
The last thing they want is for that version of Trumpcare to become law. If it did, they would lose control of the House in 2018.
The thing was denounced by doctors, hospitals, the AARP, health insurance providers and consumer groups. Critics said it would knock millions off health insurance, trim protections for folks with pre-existing conditions, hurt especially the poor, the middle class, the old and children and provide less care at more cost.
Democrats quickly pounced on that House version.
The Indiana Democratic Party immediately denounced two Hoosier Republicans, Congressmen Todd Rokita, 4th District, and Luke Messer, 6th District, for voting for “this horrifying bill” and warned that voters will remember what they did “the next time Congressmen Messer and Rokita are on the ballot.”
Even if the Senate provides a much improved Trumpcare, Democrats still will hammer at that House version. And Republicans who voted for it will say, as Messer already has, that the House vote was only a needed first step. He described the bill as “a green flag, not a checkered flag,” marking the start of the race, not the finish.
What happens at the finish, as well as how the race is run, will be a major issue in 2018.