Speculation is heating up that Republicans on Capitol Hill are backtracking on Obamacare repeal, and it looks like Lisa Murkowski is the first to cut and run. Republicans have been campaigning on Obamacare repeal for years. They used it to ride a tremendous wave of support to historical Congressional victories in 2010, they used it to take the Senate in 2014, and they used it to take the White House in 2016. It can be argued that Romney’s perceived softness on Obamacare, as the champion if a Massachusetts state bill that preceded the ACA, was a deciding factor in the GOP loss in 2012. The American people overwhelmingly dislike the bill, and Republicans have ridden that movement for all it’s worth. Now Murkowski is leading the way as the GOP dumps the American people like a bad one night stand.
Murkowski is now saying she will not vote to repeal Obamacare if it includes ended the Obama era Medicaid expansion.
“Here in Alaska, some 27,000 Alaskans — about 28,000 actually — now have coverage for the first time…While I clearly have concerns about the expansion’s long-term costs, it has strengthened our native health system and reduced the number of uninsured that are coming into our emergency rooms.”
She added, “So as long as this legislature wants to keep the expansion, Alaska should have that option. So I will not vote to repeal it.” This is the same Alaskan legislature that included language in the budget to ban Medicaid expansion in 2015. This is nothing more than an attempt by Murkowski to scapegoat Alaskans for her spineless decision to sell out Americans.
While Murkowski’s website is seemingly devoid of any reference to Obamacare, a closer look revealed that her site touts an op-ed slamming the law. The op-ed was published in 2015 by an Alaskan news site and written by none other than Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski. That’s right, Murkowski strongly condemned the Affordable Care Act in 2015 as “one of the most ironically named bill for Alaska in history” and stated she has “opposed the law from day one because the numbers do not pencil out for a state like Alaska.” All internal links to the page have been scrubbed, but an online search turned up a link to the op-ed buried within her campaign website.
Murkowski’s op-ed is about how to roll back Obamacare subsidies after the Supreme Court decision regarding their constitutionality. Despite all of her pontificating, it seems that Murkowski was just trying to play Alaskans for fools, hoping she would never be given the chance to repeal the law. Now that Republicans have the White House and both houses of Congress, Murkowski and Republicans have become the dog that caught the garbage truck, they have no earthly idea what to do about it. Murkowski isn’t up for re-election again until 2022, which allows her to sell out her constituents for special interests, like she did with teacher’s unions on the Betsy DeVos vote. I sincerely hope Alaskans have a long memory and decide to primary her when the time comes.
While the Trump administration might be teetering on the edge of chaos at the moment, Obamacare repeal is the key to earning the loyalty of the Republican base. If he can coax a full repeal, especially while Republicans like Murkowski are getting cold feet, it sends a pretty clear message that he’s serious about delivering on campaign promises. Here’s your moment Mr. President, time to take advantage of it.