If there was ever a test of the thesis that businessmen are better at sorting things out than politicians the repeal of Obamacare is it, and so far businessmen are not looking good. From over here it seems bizarre that a President who controls both houses of Congress cannot get through one of his key campaign pledges.
The Democrats are standing on the sidelines of this debate and whilst I guess there are many who feel real concern at the proposal to take healthcare away from millions and increase its costs to millions of others. Mixed in with the elation of victory there must be some feeling of schadenfreude.
President Trump tried to pull together a coalition of right wing Republicans with very, very right wing Republicans. Despite being one of the most conservative Congresses in living memory, there is a core of libertarian speaking Congressmen who are almost off the spectrum, the Freedom Caucus. They don’t want Obamacare “fixing” they want it repealing.
The Koch brothers, David and Charles, have publicly promised millions of dollars to congressmen, who vote against the current proposals, to help them get re-elected. Why this is not simply illegal is beyond understanding. That is unless you read @JaneMayerNyer book “Dark Money”… This charts how the once reclusive heirs to the Koch empire used their considerable fortune to support a range of not for profit organisations promoting a range of extreme libertarian views and, in passing, their own business interests.
Ms Mayer’s book reviews almost 50 years of giving by the Koch family whose fortune is based largely on extractive industries and which over the years has had a number of significant brushes with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Oddly enough they think climate change is a conspiracy by those wanting to expand the role of government and have funded much work to attempt to undermine the science of global warming and are keen to limit or even abolish the EPA.
The groups they support always have names like Americans for Jobs Security and Centre to Protect Patient Right . The only thing the name tells you is that they almost certainly aim to do the reverse of what the words mean.
Money speaks in America and loudly, however currently 54% of the population are in favour of Obamacare. What is more, a lot of them are low income republicans. Some elected officials seem to have find that attack adds don’t cut it if they are held responsible for taking away health care for a large swath of their supporters.
The failure to repeal Obamacare is a fantastic result for ordinary Americans, many of whom will have voted for President Trump. However, progressives need to wake up. This was not a triumph of the opposition it was a Koch-up of the extreme right. They will regroup and return and they have hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at getting it right. The Democrats deserve a day of celebration but no more.