Mitch McConnell May Abandon Obamacare Repeal If Health Care Bill Fails Senate Vote

Senate Republicans want to put healthcare in the rearview mirror and move on to tax reform, which is why they may be setting the President up to fail by holding votes on a healthcare bill that doesn’t have enough support to pass.

Axios reported that if the health care bill fails on Wednesday, McConnell might give the whole thing up, “There are at least five Republicans who may be ready to vote against the motion, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two. If he (or President Trump) can’t get them back into the fold, tomorrow’s vote could end the Senate’s Affordable Care Act repeal effort. Between the lines: That wouldn’t necessarily be the worst outcome for McConnell. As much as Republicans want to get rid of the health care law, McConnell’s allies have been saying for weeks that he’s ready to just put senators on the record and move on to tax reform. He doesn’t think a delay in the vote will make it more likely to pass.”

Time is not the problem for Republicans on this legislation. The issue is that the Republican majority is split on how to move forward on healthcare. The conservatives want to repeal and replace with nothing, while the moderates basically want to keep Obamacare with changes. The Better Care Act is too far right for the moderates and too moderate for the far right. Unlike the struggle to pass the bill in the House, one group of critics can’t be appeased to get the bill over the finish line.

If Republicans are going to pass a health care bill, they are going to need a new bill that was negotiated out in the open, and probably some Democratic support. It sounds like Mitch McConnell doesn’t care if this bill passes or not, and if it fails, he is unlikely to revive it this year, which is important because the House bill expires at the end of the year. If Republicans don’t get a bill through Congress and signed by Trump before the end of the year, they have to begin the process all over again in 2018.

Mitch McConnell is putting the bill out there, and if it fails, he is ready to move on to other things.