Bill Maher had a succinct, if potty-mouthed, explanation for why Republicans’ health-care bill died before it came to a vote — despite the party’s huge congressional majority and seven-year desire to repeal one of President Barack Obama’s signature achievements.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis) had done more and more to appease the Freedom Caucus, the latest re-branding of the tea party movement, according to Maher on his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which aired Friday night. Over time, that gutting would have left more people without health care than simply repealing the Affordable Care Act “and replaced it with nothing,” Maher said.
“The last version, they had cut hospitalization, doctor visits, maternity, mental health, lab tests, prescriptions, emergency room visits,” Maher said. “Their version of health care was: If you like your doctor, go f— yourself.”
As The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis, Ed O’Keefe and Robert Costa wrote after the bill failed, Republicans “never coalesced around a consensus alternative to the [Affordable Care Act]. … Conservative hard-liners chafed that the Ryan-drafted bill left too much of the ACA in place and enshrined a federal role in health insurance markets, while moderates feared that cuts to tax subsidies and Medicaid would leave their constituents uncovered and their states with gaping budget gaps.”
President Trump told The Post that Democrats were to blame for the bill’s demise.
“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote,” he said.
But Ryan told The Post’s Karen Tumulty that Republicans are shifting from being an opposition party to being a governing party — and that’s hard.
“We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do. You just had to be against it,” the speaker said. “And now in three months’ time we tried to go to a governing party where we actually had to get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things.”
Trump said he wouldn’t ask Republicans to reintroduce health-care legislation but will focus on “a sweeping tax overhaul plan,” according to the Associated Press.
But, according to Maher, he has bigger issues.
“Oh this looks bad for Trump,” he said. “You know how Putin feels about failure.”