On March 7, House Speaker Paul Ryan introduced what he called the “American Healthcare Act.” The AHCA might as well have been called the Republican Suicide Bill.
The only people who loved the bill were the insurance lobbyists who no doubt actually wrote most of the bill. Real Americans hated the bill. Conservatives hated the bill. They did so with good cause.
For seven years, the Republican Party staked its future on repealing Obamacare. In 2010, Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote. When the Republicans took control of the House in 2011, they knew how much America hated Obamacare. That is why then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor scheduled so many repeal votes.
He knew Americans hated Obamacare and the Republicans could run and fundraise off their laughable attempts at repeal.
The AHCA was immediately dubbed “Ryancare.” And it was not popular. One poll showed only 17% of Americans approved of Ryancare. Those 17% sampled must work for insurance companies, as they were the only winners coming out of that bill.
Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie called the bill, “A stinking pile of garbage, written by the insurance lobby.”
Enter North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows and Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Congressman Jordan is the Vice Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and he came up with a brilliant idea. The Republican Leadership could only lose twenty-one votes and still be able to pass Ryancare. If the House Freedom Caucus stuck together, they could stop the bill.
At least twenty-eight members of the Freedom Caucus agreed, and they would all vote together on the bill. That would be enough to kill Ryancare.
Shockingly, President Trump came on board with Ryancare and the pressure from the White House and from the House Leadership was intense. Under the leadership of Congressman Meadow, the Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, conservatives refused to budge.
They knew Ryancare was a disaster. They knew that for seven years the Republican Party ran on repealing Obamacare, not creating a Republican version of Obamacare. They knew if this massive, “stinking pile of garbage” passed, voters would take their wrath out on a Republican Party that lied once again to the voters.
Last Friday, Congressman Meadows told Speaker Ryan the House Freedom Caucus would not support Ryancare, dooming the bill. Shortly after that, the Speaker pulled the bill.
The defeat of this bill is the most significant defeat for a majority party since the 1994 defeat of Hillarycare. A few months later, Newt Gingrich led the Republican revolution that swept the Democrats out of power in the House of Representatives for the first time in thirty-eight years.
Many conservatives opposed Paul Ryan when he became Speaker. Since he became Speaker, the number of his conservative supporters has dwindled. For many, Ryancare may have been the last straw.
Two years ago, Congressman Meadows triggered then Speaker John Boehner’s exit by filing a motion to vacate the Chair. It is time for that to happen again.
Speaker Ryan’s leadership has been questionable at best and if President Trump is going to have a successful term, he needs a Speaker who will deliver a conservative agenda for him.
Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan deserve credit for saving the Republican Party from career-ending, self-inflicted injury. These are the men who should be leading the Republican Party.