You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

House Republicans are stuck in their own terrible version of Groundhog Day.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The House GOP is currently rushing to pass a deeply unpopular plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The rush comes partly from the fact that the bill is deeply unpopular and partly from the (correct) belief that the more people that find out about the bill, the more will hate it. The bill isn’t just hated by constituents—it’s also being blasted by health care providers and patient groups. Even Republican congressmen aren’t excited about it.

We have been here before. The main differences, it seems, between this attempt at health care “reform” and the last are that the Freedom Caucus is more or less on board (which is never a good thing) and that Republicans are trying to pass the bill before the CBO provides its estimate. Last time, the CBO score was probably the final nail in the coffin for repeal-and-replace, and there’s nothing in this bill to suggest that the CBO will find anything different—which means that this bill will decrease coverage and increase costs. Republicans don’t possess a set of health care principles that will result in the policy everyone wants (better coverage and lower costs), and have therefore decided that the most prudent course of action is to simply pass the bill before anyone can find out what’s in it.

Strangely, this has put Democrats in a bit of a pickle. On Wednesday morning Politico reported that some Democrats are rooting for a vote because it would put Republicans on record as supporting this terrible bill. The best outcome for Democrats would probably be one in which the AHCA passes the House and goes to the Senate, where it would then die over the course of several months. This is playing with fire—it’s the kind of too-clever-by-half strategy that has doomed Democrats before. Still, Republicans are about to punch themselves in the face, either by passing a horrible bill or by clowning themselves in the most public possible way. The only question is how hard.