After ObamaCare repeal, GOP majorities on life support
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In just 105 days of his presidency, Donald Trump with the help of the House GOP, finally got the victory he desperately needed. After failing to begin the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, in Trump’s first 100 days, the House GOP, led by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow this year’s freshmen can save the Congress — and themselves Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters Amazon fleeced New York, Virginia with HQ2 picks MORE, finally slayed their white whale.

With 217 yea votes and no Democrat support, Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) which aims to repeal President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment. A triumph of epic proportion indeed (though it leaves some key provisions of ObamaCare in place and faces uncertainty in the U.S. Senate). One thing for sure the victory does assure is that GOP representatives are “dead-men walking” in the 2018 midterm elections.

After a string of stunning losses and setbacks on the Hill and in the courts including TrumpCare, the travel ban and border wall funding, the Trump administration is seizing on the passage of AHCA as a much-needed lifeline.


However, in doing so, the House GOP leadership rushed through a bill absent the all-important Congressional Budget Office scoring and no hearings to vet the bill's impact on the American people. This amid the backdrop that a recent Gallup poll shows the Obama’s Affordable Care Act with a 55 percent approval rating, while the AHCA stands at a paltry 17 percent.  Despite those facts, Republicans are determined to strip millions of Americans of healthcare. (The CBO estimated approximately 24 million could lose coverage under the GOP’s plan).

In the aftermath of Obama's historic healthcare win, Democrats proceeded to lose a whopping 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate. Moreover, historically, the party that controls the White House struggles to maintain seats in midterm elections and if history is any guide, the House GOP's healthcare "victory" all but dooms both Republican-led chambers to minority status in 2018. Moreover, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE’s historically-low approval numbers only compounds the problems confronting Republicans efforts to maintain control of the levers of power in Washington after 2018.

A classic case of a Pyrrhic victory where the cost of winning is vastly outweighed by the tremendous damage done to the party's long-term political viability.

Scores of outside groups ranging from the AARP, the American Medical Association, the Diabetes Association and others came out vociferously against the passage of the bill. The AARP has vowed to make constituents (of Republicans who voted for the bill) aware of their vote. Also, in rare unity, the trifecta of the medical landscape: doctors, hospitals, and insurers are speaking with one voice denouncing the bill. Michael J. Dowling, chief executive of Northwell Health, a large health system in New York stated: "This is just a debacle."

Recognizing the toxicity and political malfeasance orchestrated by House Republicans, Senate GOP leadership has already telegraphed that it will be writing its own healthcare legislation. Unfortunately, the Senate is already off to a shaky start as Senate Republicans announced a group of 13 GOP Senators who will be responsible for crafting the plan which includes no women senators. Still, the damage is done and no amount of effort by Senate Republicans can pacify an already politically vocal and charged opposition threatened with the loss of healthcare for millions of Americans.

It is true, President Trump and Republicans ran on a promise of repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. After many setbacks, the House of Representatives took the first step forward in fulfilling their campaign promise. However, by passing a bill so draconian as to impact every demographic group across the nation, they give a vulnerable Democratic Party new life.

In 2018 midterm elections, Democrats are defending 25 senate seats compared to just nine for Republicans. Of the 25 seats Democrats are defending, 10 are in states Trump carried in November 2016. However, by passing a bill so universally loathed and excoriated, congressional Republicans have given Democrats a major talking point, not to mention, a tremendous fundraising vehicle.

The ACA repeal will go down as a victory for the Trump administration and the House Republicans but come November 2018, it's the voters that will be pulling the plug on the GOP.

Eric Ham is a national political analyst and co-author author of the bestselling book, "THE GOP CIVIL WAR: Inside the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party."

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