In the wake of the stunning defeat early Friday morning of the Senate’s last-ditch attempt to repeal parts of Obamacare, President Donald Trump is blaming the three Republican defectors and claiming he had the right strategy all along.
It’s a typical Trump reaction — and one that suggests the administration will try to prolong the uncertainty that’s already wreaked havoc on insurance markets.
“As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” the president tweeted:
3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
That’s a change of heart from a few hours earlier, when he was cheering the Senate from the sidelines:
Go Republican Senators, Go! Get there after waiting for 7 years. Give America great healthcare!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
Come on Republican Senators, you can do it on Healthcare. After 7 years, this is your chance to shine! Don't let the American people down!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2017
But it also suggests how the Trump administration might approach a law that, for now, is in less danger than it was earlier this week. Congressional Republicans appear unable to cohere around any kind of replacement plan. That means the future of Obamacare is in the administration’s hands.
They could choose to shore up the law and help people who purchase insurance on the individual market. For example, they could persuade insurers to go into counties at risk of having no insurance options by signaling support for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies that help insurers lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans.
Or the administration could undermine the law. The consequences, of course, aren’t limited to the political arena. They will be felt most keenly by the millions of Americans who depend on the insurance they get through the health care law.