Conservative media versus the GOP healthcare bill

Conservative media versus the GOP healthcare bill
© Getty Images

Republicans in the House and Senate may be facing an opponent outside of their Democratic counterparts when it comes to repealing and replacing ObamaCare: the conservative media. 

From Laura Ingraham and Ben Shapiro to Mark Levin and the Drudge Report, the headwinds against new healthcare legislation are strong, despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE calling the GOP healthcare plan "wonderful" in a Tuesday tweet. 

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

After meeting with almost two dozen House Republicans at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Trump added that he’s "proud to support the replacement plan." 

“I think it’s going to go very quickly,” he added.

But the bill is raising questions among House conservatives, outside groups and the right-leaning media.

Even those who were reportedly in talks to join the administration during the transition -- such as radio host Laura Ingraham -- are voicing their displeasure, calling the plan "ObamaCare Lite" or "ObamaCare 2.0."

 

 

On the Fox News discussion program "Outnumbered" Tuesday, guest co-host Eric Bolling, who was reportedly in talks to join the Trump administration in November, was especially critical of the new healthcare bill, calling it dead on arrival in its present form. 

"For me, for anyone who is a conservative, especially someone who is a constitutional conservative, the bill is DOA,” Bolling said. "They need to fix it." 

Breitbart News is also letting its opinion be known via a scorching headline on the popular alt-right website: "Obamacare 2.0 Guts Enforcement, Gives Illegal Aliens Health Care Through Identity Fraud."

Breitbart was headed by Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon before he left to be CEO of the campaign.

Conservative radio host Mark Levin also slammed the new legislation, providing it with the nickname RINOCARE – cribbing from the acronym RINO which stands for Republican in name only.

 

 

Levin linked to a story in the Daily Signal by former Breitbart columnist Ben Shapiro, who does not support the legislation. 
"Instead of repealing Obamacare, they now plan to trim around the edges," Shapiro writes. 
"Their new Obamacare plan isn’t an attempt to shift America away from government-run healthcare. It’s an attempt to re-enshrine government as the center of the health care system, with a slightly rejiggered vision of its role. The plan isn’t likely to lower costs, promote competition, or curb moral hazard," continued Shapiro. 

"It’s not good." 

But what may be most ominous for relatively moderate House Republicans is a headline in Tuesday's Drudge Report that touts: "The return of Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE." 

The headline links to a Washington Examiner story detailing the Republican senator's outspoken opposition to the American Health Care Act, which Paul argues does not fully repeal ObamaCare. 

 

 

Drudge's considerable influence over conservatives has grabbed the attention of traditional media veterans, as noted by Carl Bernstein of Washington Post "Watergate" fame. 

“One of the interesting things we’ve seen in this campaign is Fox has driven Trump’s candidacy less than Matt Drudge,” Bernstein said on CNN right after the election. 

“Drudge is really a great new factor in this election in terms of media," he continued. "That site has been unapologetically in Trump’s pocket from the beginning.” 

Overall, Drudge draws 1.5 billion page views per month, making it one of the most-read news sites on the web, even beating the likes of Disney Media Networks, which includes ABCNews.com and ESPN.com; Yahoo; Google; Time Warner and Fox Entertainment Groups.

So when Drudge, who was also referred to as a "kingmaker" by Bernstein because of the site's unwavering support of Donald Trump's candidacy, links to a story along with a photo of Paul near the top of its coveted homepage, many believe it shows where Drudge stands on a particular issue. 

For Paul, the apparent endorsement of his position by a site with such influence only strengthens his hand in negotiations.  

Outside conservative groups have also been active on social media and cable news Tuesday, blasting the healthcare proposal that they say doesn’t live up to the GOP’s promise of fully repealing ObamaCare.