In February, former House Speaker John Boehner spoke about Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
“They’ll fix Obamacare … I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”
Terence Burlij. “Boehner: Obamacare Repeal And Replace ‘Not What’s Going To Happen'”. CNN. 2017.
Fast-forward exactly one month. Boehner sounds more elder statesman than hardball politician. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that Trump championed as “tremendous” was dead last Friday before a single vote was cast:
“The most conservative members of the House didn’t think that the American Health Care Act would go far enough to eradicate Obamacare, and moderates were concerned about an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that 24 million Americans would be left without insurance.
Republican leaders bent to the will of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 30 hard-line members, agreeing to remove several federal mandates for minimum benefits, including mental health services and some maternity care. But this move still didn’t go far enough to appease members of the caucus. And the concessions alienated several moderates.”
Katie Rogers. “How The Health Care Vote Fell Apart, Step By Step”. New York Times. 2017.
After House Republicans spent years working on repealing the ACA without a clue of what a replacement would look like, Trump, Ryan, and the rest of their party are shifting what’s left of their congressional capital to massive tax cuts.