It has been assailed as the end of democracy. Vilified as a form of slavery. Denigrated, denounced and disparaged. But like a blind, three-legged dog named “Lucky,” against all odds, the Affordable Care Act has survived and remains the law of the land.
In the face of a guaranteed veto by the man they nicknamed the bill after, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal it more than 60 times, but the first chance they got as a majority, with a sure-fire presidential signature, they choked like a skinny-necked goose being force-fed gravel.
Their oft-repeated mantra was “Repeal and Replace” but when push came to shove, they resorted to “Ordeal and disgrace.” “Raw deal and lose face.” “Surreal and deface.”
For new President Donald Trump, it was a lesson in Government 101. The head of Trump University got himself schooled. The learning curve for Apprentice Chief Executives looks to be a mite steeper than the reverse trajectory of a bundled tax return wrapped around a vodka bottle thrown off the roof of Trump Tower.
Trump’s legitimate shock at the turn of events seems to indicate he hadn’t been paying attention the last couple of years. And this could very well be why, traditionally, the presidency has not been an entry- level position.
This is the very same consummate deal maker who earlier asked, “Who knew health care could be so complicated?”
Um. Everybody. Except you. Again.
In defeat, the author of The Art of the Deal, blasted everyone; the Democrats, the media, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Charles Barkley, until finally placing the blame for the scuttling of Trumpcare on his own right wing’s Freedom Caucus. The group that demanded concessions, received them, then still wouldn’t vote for the bill.
With friends like those, who needs lizard-like, alien invaders?
The problem was, after eliminating standards for minimum benefits including ambulances, hospitalization, prescriptions, maternity care, drug and mental heath treatment, pediatric services, emergency services and labs, the American Health Care Act was less health insurance and more malady assurance.
24 million citizens were estimated to lose health-care coverage under the AHCA, and that was before the total vivisection of the bill. Making passage even stickier since moderates ran away like avocados leaving Mexico the week before the Super Bowl.
The group switched its name to Freedom Caucus from Tea Party, because they’re fighting for the freedom of all Americans to die without government intervention. To them, compromise isn’t just a dirty word, it’s a hanging offense. Even with the rope strung around their own necks, they are resolute as glue-footed moths on a porch light.
Now Trump says he’s moving on, because “The best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode.”
That’s what you want from a leader. Someone willing to sacrifice. His constituents.
But moving on isn’t a total lock either. He hasn’t yet said, “Who knew that a border wall or tax reform or rebuilding our infrastructure could be so complicated,” but now that the Tea Partiers have the taste of blood in their mouths, he might.
The best news for all concerned is that Obamacare still covers depression.
— Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here for videos and a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, Elect to Laugh: 2016, appearing every Tuesday at The Marsh in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @willdurst and click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.