March 28, 2017
Short-term loss or long-term win? That's what analysts are starting to ask about the sudden collapse of the health care bill last Friday. The House Freedom Caucus didn't exactly endear itself to leadership when it stuck to its guns on the Obamacare replacement. But based on new polling, they may have done their party the biggest favor yet! Holding the line may not have been the popular choice -- but it could be a rewarding one, according to Wilson Perkins Allen.
While Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and other leaders did their best to improve the plan, there were still major concerns over the price tag -- for taxpayers and policyholders. That was a non-starter for conservatives like Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the Freedom Caucus. They didn't just want to repeal Obamacare -- they wanted to replace it with something much better. Turns out, the American people agree with them! WPA Research dug deeper after Friday's disappointment and found that the president's annoyance may soon turn to appreciation. "The data show overwhelming support for full repeal and replace and suggest that the House Freedom Caucus did the Senate, and Republicans' hopes of expanding their Senate majority, a great service in stopping the bill before it made it across the Capitol." In other words, these conservatives may have saved a lot more than money by asking for a better bill. They may have saved their majority.
"House Freedom Caucus members held the line, and the data show that is precisely what their constituents wanted," WPA experts go on. "While full repeal and replace of Obamacare has overwhelming support in these districts, even keeping Obamacare intact was more popular than the American Health Care Act, often by more than a two-to-one margin." If that's the case, Republicans may have escaped certain disaster. "While it is clear the constituents of House Freedom Caucus members prefer repeal and replace, supporting this approach would also be a net-win in the key 2018 Senate states," WPA points out. "Likewise, a vote to preserve Obamacare, rather than repealing and replacing, would be a net-loss for endangered Democrats." Looking at these tables, WPA's Chris Wilson compares the number of supporters who prefer a repeal-and-replace plan versus those who "support keeping Obamacare as is." "While the margins are tight in some states, in every state there is a net preference for repeal-and-replace."
Now, after weeks of hammering out a plan that only 17 percent of Americans supported, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) says it's time to try again. "Let's do the responsible thing. Let's get back to work and do what we told the voters we were going to do." In our opinion -- and a growing number of conservatives' -- that means dusting off the 2015 reconciliation bill that survived both chambers of Congress. The GOP already proved that the measure, which toppled Obamacare and gutted Planned Parenthood funding, works. It's time to put the reconciliation bill back on the table and finish what Republicans started two years ago: repeal, then replace.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.