Over the past several days, Trumpcare has suffered a series of crushing defeats, leading many to pronounce the death of GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But while Trumpcare is certainly on the ropes following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's announcement that the bill lacks the votes required for passage, progressive groups are warning against complacency and urging activists to keep up the pressure.
"This is starting to look like a kitchen sink strategy from Senate Republicans: use every tactic you have at once and maybe something will work."
—Indivisible"Trumpcare is NOT DEAD. Repeat: Trumpcare is not dead. Far from it," Indivisible, which has participated in several demonstrations at the Capitol this week, said in a statement on Thursday.
As The Hill's Rachel Roubein has reported, Senate Republicans are scrambling amid numerous developments—including news that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with brain cancer—to revive their original "repeal and replace" legislation after McConnell's "repeal only" plan stalled out almost as soon as it was proposed.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released Wednesday estimated the "repeal only" plan would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured by 2026. The CBO also released an analysis of a "revised" version of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday, which concluded that the legislation would strip healthcare from 22 million Americans over the next ten years—the same number as the original version.
"Senate Republican leaders are desperately searching for the 50 votes they need to open a debate on Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation after a Wednesday scolding at the White House from President Trump," Roubein noted. "Leaders have reopened negotiations on their previous bill, reversing course from their plans to move to a vote on a straight repeal of Obamacare."
Indivisible argues that this sudden maneuvering is a sign that Republicans are making a last-ditch attempt to revive their repeal efforts, an indication that the fight to save healthcare for millions is far from over. As Reuters reported, Republicans gathered for a late-night meeting Wednesday in an effort to negotiate through seemingly insurmountable disagreements.
"This is starting to look like a kitchen sink strategy from Senate Republicans: use every tactic you have at once and maybe something will work," the group said.
Indivisible went on to list a number of moves McConnell could be making to reach the number of votes necessary for Trumpcare to pass.
He may, the group warned, be working to:
- "Shore up the extreme conservatives" by gutting Obamacare as thoroughly as possible or repealing it entirely.
- "Bully moderates" by pointing out that several of them voted for a full repeal of Obamacare in 2015, when it had no chance of passing.
- "Make Trumpcare look less bad" by hyping additions like the so-called Cruz Amendment, which "would destroy insurance markets and devastate patients."
- "Distract voters" by pushing attention onto other sensational headlines.
"These efforts won't work," Indivisible concluded, as long as activists and constituents "don't let up."
If Wednesday's events were any indication, many appear to be taking this call to heart. As the Associated Press reported, as many as 155 demonstrators were arrested following demonstrations in Senate office buildings.
"Wednesday's figure was among the largest since the demonstrations began," AP noted. "The police say they responded at 45 different spots in the three Senate office buildings beginning in midafternoon."
As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, since McConnell conceded Monday that Trumpcare was unlikely to make it through the Senate, activists have nonetheless continued to treat the legislation as if it could emerge from the grave at any moment.
Even Republican senators have admitted that the resistance has been extremely effective.
"I think the concern of citizens generally has made an impact on me, yeah," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told Vox's Jeff Stein.
On Saturday, July 29, a coalition of progressive groups—including Our Revolution, MoveOn.org, Indivisible, and UltraViolet—are sponsoring what is being billed as one of the largest days of action against Trumpcare so far ahead of the Senate's expected vote next week.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia are set to host events, which will take place under the banner "Our Lives Are on the Line."
"Stay focused, keep fighting," the groups said simply. "We can't ease up now."