Following a long day of civil disobedience that saw hundreds gathered at the Capitol and at senate offices across the country demanding the death of Trumpcare, two Republican senators—Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas—announced Monday night that they would oppose the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act, forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to admit defeat.
“Republicans have been determined to take a wrecking ball to the Affordable Care Act and the protections it provides. They will not give up. And neither will we.”
—Anna Galland, MoveOn.org
Immediately upon conceding Trumpcare’s demise, however, McConnell—urged on by President Donald Trump—vowed to revive “in the coming days” a 2015 measure that would fully repeal Obamacare “with a two-year delay,” ostensibly aimed at stabilizing insurance markets and providing time for Republicans to unite around a replacement plan.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the 2015 legislation, which was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama, found that “the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill.” That number, the CBO concluded, would climb to 32 million by 2026 and premiums would soar by 100 percent.
For this reason, activists’ celebration of Trumpcare’s defeat was brief and qualified. Though McConnell’s concession is a testament to popular pressure sustained over a period of several months, progressive groups noted, his vow to come back with an even more devastating measure indicates that the fight to save the Affordable Care Act—and to move beyond it to a system that ensures healthcare for all—is far from over.
“Trumpcare isn’t dead yet, but it’s on life support,” said Kai Newkirk, mission director for Democracy Spring, which participated in the demonstrations on Monday.
Many likened Trumpcare to a zombie, and urged activists to treat it as such.
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