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Mitch McConnell issues dire warning: If Trumpcare fails, Republicans might have to talk to Democrats

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By Mark Sumner

From Mitch McConnell {MID-137271}
Mitch McConnell
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
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What happens if Republicans can't get enough Republicans to vote for their all-Republican bill? The greatest horror imaginable.

"Mitch McConnell is delivering an urgent missive to staffers, Republican senators and even the president himself: If Obamacare repeal fails this week, then the GOP will lose all leverage and be forced to work with Chuck Schumer."

Yes. If Republicans don't pledge allegiance to Trump and sign on to condemn millions of Americans, they could be forced to talk to Democrats. That doesn't mean Democrats will get anything they want, but ... they'd have to talk to them. They might even get some of that democracy all over their tax cut plan.

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"Voters expect Republicans to deliver on their long-held promise to repeal the law, McConnell said, according to those people. And failing to repeal the law would mean the GOP would lose its opportunity to do a partisan rewrite of the law that could scale back Medicaid spending, cut Obamacare's taxes and repeal a host of industry mandates.

"Instead, Republicans would be forced to enter into bipartisan negotiations with Democrats to save failing insurance markets."

It takes a very special kind of mind to think that "lose its opportunity to do a partisan rewrite" is a problem that should make people scramble. Of course, there's only so long Republicans can keep maintaining the fabrication that the Affordable Care Act is dead.

"Of course, it's also a big week for healthcare with an anticipated vote in the Senate later this week on the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Trump administration is holding events around the country highlighting the failure of Obamacare and what that failure has cost American families."

Because 20 million Americans that get their health care through that "failure" are likely to notice that they still have health care. That doesn't mean the ACA isn't in trouble. It means it's not in trouble for the reasons Republicans say. It's in trouble because Republicans worked hard to put it there.

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"Obamacare is not 'collapsing under its own weight,' as Republicans are so fond of saying. It was sabotaged from the day it was enacted."

What did Republicans do to get us here? First, they launched over 100 lawsuits, targeting everything from the mandate to buy insurance to the requirement that plans cover contraception. Most of these lawsuits failed, but a few of them succeeded -- including one that made implementation of the Medicare expansion optional -- and all of them served to make it almost impossible for insurers to predict costs and risks. Those lawsuits, most of them launched directly from the House, are a major reason why many insurers withdrew from plans.

But the attacks via lawsuit are only a tiny part of what Republicans have done to damage the ACA.

"Opponents did everything possible to shut off all the A.C.A.'s financing -- starvation intended to wreak havoc in the insurance markets and to make it falsely appear that the A.C.A. was collapsing because it was just bad policy."

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