Yes, sentient beings, it’s come to this.
Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), under whom the House shut down the government in October of 2013 over Obamacare, said he started laughing at the idea of repealing Obamacare.
“I started laughing…most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act… that’s going to be there,” Boehner is quoted by Politico as saying at the Thursday Orlando healthcare conference, while discussing talk of November promises to rush through a repeal and replace.
“Republicans never ever agree on health care,” Boehner observed.
“[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” Boehner concluded.
Boehner led the October 2013 shutdown of the federal government over funding Obamacare, which lasted for 16 days and cost $24 billion, according to a Standard & Poor’s estimate. For this failure, Boehner blamed President Obama for not being willing to “negotiate,” and yet if we go back in time to the Obamacare debates, Republicans had plenty of time to offer ideas but were too busy selling lies about “death panels” to bother listening to their aides give a rundown of the actual legislation.
This is the guy who led his party to winning a majority by promising Obamacare repeal. In 2010, the promise to repeal and replace was a cornerstone of Republican leadership’s (in the House, John Boehner) platform. PolitiFact rated the Republican pledge as a “broken promise.”
No matter, Republicans marched on with their narrow, obsessive focus on Obamacare with over 60 votes to repeal even though they had no replacement, and even though some polls showed that people didn’t want Obamacare repealed. They were determined to take healthcare away from millions of Americans even without a replacement.
Certainly people do not now want Obamacare repealed without a replacement. But it was only logical that people would put their own lives ahead of Republican rhetoric once they got a taste of the affordable health insurance made available to them under Obamacare.
Republicans lose their window to act on the inaccurate fears they incited. They needed to act before people really understood what they were getting with access to buying insurance and the laws that helped those with pre-existing conditions, etc. But Republicans could not agree on a replacement and refused to be a part of any solution to tweak the law for the better.
And so we are here, with Boehner’s more truthful assessment now that he is out of office and no longer has to deal with the Tea Party nihilists and extremists who have come to embody the entire Republican Party.
Meanwhile, it’s instructive to recall current Speaker Paul Ryan’s sly grin a year ago in January of 2016, when reporters asked why he was holding a vote to repeal without a replacement. “Just wait,” Ryan smiled. Just wait, indeed. This is what happens when the Speaker and “budget won” is someone who boasts of basing his monetary ideas on a fictional character’s monologue in a book aimed at adolescents.
Tick tock, it’s seven years later and Republicans still don’t have a repeal plan they can agree on. Maybe it’s time to admit that Republicans don’t do this whole legislating to help the people thing. They are much better at bumper sticker slogans that trick people into voting to help Koch brothers types.
John Boehner is laughing at Congressional Republicans and President Trump for their empty promises about a quick repeal and replace. And if anyone knows about empty promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, it’s John Boehner.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.