By Robert Mann
Obamacare’s fate is now a crisis for Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. It’s delicious irony that, after railing against and vowing to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the care and feeding of a program so loathed by Republicans now belongs to our new president and the GOP Congress — and they don’t know what to do with it.
More than a month after Trump took office vowing to repeal and replace Obamacare, he and Congress are no closer to agreeing upon on a replacement. That’s sparked panic among smarter Republicans, who now realize that some of the energy they put into holding more than 60 House votes to kill the law might have been better spent on developing a viable alternative.
Now, because they know they must not repeal Obamacare without a replacement, Republicans are talking about repairing it (which is what Hillary Clinton and Obama once proposed).
That’s because, with Obama gone, the Affordable Care Act is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. In a Fox News poll last month, only 23 percent of Americans surveyed said they want the law repealed. The same poll showed that 50 percent had a favorable opinion of the law. Other polling has shown a similar rise in popularity.
That’s a dramatic change in fortunes and the reason Trump and congressional Republicans, who now control the executive and legislative branches, fear voters will punish them for whatever calamity follows Obamacare’s repeal.
The problem for Republicans is even if the law remains unchanged, voters will blame them for premium increases and any other future problem with the program. Like it or not, Republicans own Obamacare. How they wriggle out of this mess would be delightful to watch if millions of lives were not at stake.
Here in Louisiana, the political winds shift slowly, but the same dynamic is at work. If you are governor, what was once the other guy’s problem will eventually become yours.
As Gov. John Bel Edwards struggles to fix the obscene budget mess former Gov. Bobby Jindal left him, the public blames Jindal. In a February poll by the University of New Orleans’ Survey Research Center, 60 percent of those surveyed said the state’s budget crisis was Jindal’s fault. Only 13 percent blamed Edwards, while 23 percent pointed to legislators. Even 35 percent of Republicans said Jindal was the leading culprit, far more than the 21 percent who blamed Edwards.
Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.