President Donald Trump's attempt to replace Obamacare with a healthcare plan dubbed after him has failed. Some Republicans in Senate, after grappling with the Trumpcare bill for weeks, have finally conceded that there are some among them who would not vote for the bill and hence the Trumpcare bill in Senate is dead for the time being.
This is a colossal setback for the US President because that would mean that the official health care policy of his administration would be Obamacare. He has thus called for immediate repeal of Obamacare that would meet the satisfaction of all the Republican Senators. That call by the President to repeal Obamacare immediately without a new healthcare bill in place is also likely to fail.
The reason why the Trumpcare bill has failed and why the president's call to repeal Obamacare would also in all likelihood fail is because both the President and the Republicans in the Congress are in denial about Obamacare's strengths. Obamacare has given healthcare benefits that have not just benefitted the Democrats and Americans who are not supporters of the Republican Party but also millions in the Republican Party itself.
For instance, Obamacare has facilitated millions of Americans with health insurance through the support of the federal government. Obamacare's objective is to provide health insurance to all Americans eventually, whereas before Obamacare, USA was the only country in the developed world where millions were left to treat themselves with drugs available across the counter even for life threatening illnesses because they were too poor to buy health insurance.
Before Obamacare, there were also millions who, though not poor, were also unable to buy health insurance because their health conditions led the insurance companies to charge prohibitive insurance fees to make it impossible for them to buy health insurance. Obamacare made it illegal for insurance companies to punish anyone for pre-existing conditions. In addition, Obamacare also provided many facilities for healthcare of the elderly and women. Obamacare gave these benefits from a combination of health related programmes of the federal government, in particular by strengthening Medicaid-- a programme introduced in 1966 by President Johnson for health care of the poor.
The House had passed the Trumpcare bill earlier and sent it to the Senate. The House bill had scrapped almost all the benefits to the poor, women and the elderly along with taking away their health insurance. Yet President Trump had called that bill the best legislation ever drafted. The Senate because of the outcry against it from the Republican base unceremoniously dismissed the House bill. It then drafted a new Trumpcare bill, revised it many times but still, the outcry made it unacceptable.
The fact that Trumpcare would take away health insurance of 22 million Americans and with it other health related privileges, was not its only bad side. The Trumpcare bill would also take away US$ 772 billion from Medicaid over the 10 years so that the President and the Republicans in Congress could make the rich richer by giving them more tax benefits! This is a case of double whammy for the poor and the less fortunate Americans who under the Senate Trumpcare bill would sit and see themselves pushed towards life threatening predicaments while the money saved was going to make the rich and the super rich, richer!
To add to these blatantly anti-poor and pro-rich bias of the Trumpcare bill, 13 key Republican Senators led by the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have tried to pass the Trumpcare bill without a word with the Democrats and even leaving the rest of the Republican Senators in the dark. Even a mafia style legislature in an undemocratic state would have allowed more transparency to a proposed bill such as Trumpcare that would affect the lives of all Americans for now and the future.
The President is now demanding the Senate to repeal Obamacare immediately that would take away health insurance from an additional 32 million Americans! The call by the President for immediate repeal after the failure to pass Trumpcare in Senate underlines his current predicament. He had stated repeatedly during his campaign and also after becoming the president that repealing Obamacare and replacing it with his plan would not just be his top priority but the easiest to achieve.
Unfortunately for the president, he cannot blame the 'fake media' for the failure of the Trumpcare bill. He would, therefore, have to live with Obamacare as the official healthcare policy as his efforts to get the Senate to repeal it now looks likely doomed not just with the news of millions more losing their healthcare insurance but also with the news of Senator McCain's brain cancer.
President Trump's dislike for President Obama is too deep rooted, so much so that any reference to President Obama hurts him mentally in a way that does not speak well of his mental state. That he would now have to own Obamacare as the official health care policy is simply too much and how he would react once repealing it fails in the Senate would be interesting to watch.
The President's public posture after Trumpcare had failed to pass in the Senate has been anything but an acknowledgement of that failure. Nevertheless, the saga of Trumpcare has established that President Trump and a good number of the Republicans in the Senate believe that in the United States, only the rich and the super rich have the right to live. That, of course, is nothing short of madness and such a perception is bound to fail. The signs of such failure are now loud and clear. Nevertheless, until that happens, America would continue to slide in its standing in the international arena, signs of which are now palpably evident with President Trump playing second fiddle to President Putin and the European leaders largely ignoring him.
The writer is a former Ambassador.