The US Senate on Friday rejected by 51 votes to 49 a minimum initiative to bury Obamacare, the system that has extended medical coverage to 20 million people since 2010. It was the third failed attempt by the Conservatives and an unequivocal signal that Donald Trump, despite having a majority in both houses, is unable to lead his part
For seven years, ending Obamacare has been the grand goal of the Republican Party. But, now that the hour of truth has come, Republican dreams are clashing with reality. On three occasions, the split between moderates and radicals within the party has prevented consensus. And the pressure from the White House has proved insufficient. “Go ahead Republican senators, you can do it. After seven years, this is your chance to shine,” Trump had tweeted on the eve of the session. But, it was no use.
To circumvent the fragmentation, McConnell designed a bill that killed Obamacare partially. The bill removed a requirement that irritates almost all Republicans: the obligation of citizens and companies to take out health insurance. In compensation, he left intact the expansion of Medicaid, the health program for the most disadvantaged, a demand of centrist senators.
The Republican’s next move is confusing. McConnell accepted the failure and in the Republican ranks, the idea of opening a dialogue with Democrats has gained currency. “I think it would be appropriate to ask them what their ideas are and see how we can move forward,” said the Republican leader. Given the polarization, the possibility of agreement is remote, but whatever the outcome, any bill passed in the Senate will again have to pass through the House of Representatives and start a new and exhausting negotiating process.
Obamacare refuses to die.