It was January, 2017. And Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., phoned Vice President Mike Pence to talk about health care.

He spoke about how thousands of his constituents received health care coverage “for the first time” as a result of ObamaCare.

And Manchin had a stern message for the Vice President. He wouldn’t vote to repeal ObamaCare if a replacement measure wasn’t set to go and was on cruise control to become law.

“They might not know how they got it,” said Manchin when describing West Virginians receiving health coverage for the first time. “But they will know how they lost it.”

TRUMP SAYS CORONAVIRUS CRISIS WILL ‘GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER,’ PLEADS WITH AMERICANS TO WEAR MASKS

Democrats aren’t foolish. Health care repeatedly registers as a top issue for Democratic voters. Health care scored well for Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Protecting health care coverage was one of the reasons Democrats flipped the House – after the Republicans jumbled and ultimately failed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017.

But Republicans have flailed about on the health care issue for years. Nearly a decade of trying to repeal and replace Obamacare in Congress and at the Supreme Court. No dice.

“You watch,” proffered President Trump in May 2019. “The Republican party will soon be known as the party of health care.”

President Trump updates fight against COVID, asks Americans to wear masks when they can't socially distancePresident Trump updates fight against COVID, asks Americans to wear masks when they can’t socially distance

Trump holds coronavirus briefing from the White House.

In an interview with ABC at the time, the president promised health plans “for everybody,” boasting that his still-unreleased plan would be “phenomenal.”

That may have been the last thing Congressional Republicans – or the public – wanted to hear, considering how clumsy the party’s approach to health care has been for years. And now coronavirus grips the U.S. with cases soaring.

Amid all of this, the Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court to yet again try to repeal Obamacare. It’s doubtful the High Court will hear the case until fall with a ruling not coming until next year.

And that grand health care plan from the GOP?

Crickets.

That was until Mr. Trump told my colleague Chris Wallace he’d “sign” a health care package in two weeks.

No such plan is before either chamber of Congress right now. No one knows to what the President was referring.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., now finds himself in an agonizing position. He knows Congress can’t immediately fork over trillions more to salvage some modicum of the American economy. He knows the country can’t shutter like it did this spring. And, he knows lives are at stake.

“We cannot go back to April, and we cannot go right back to normal,” beseeched McConnell. “We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks.”

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This is why Democrats are more than happy to embrace health care heading into the 2020 election.

Why would the 2020 election be about anything besides health care?

Democrats are intent on making the November vote about health care.

Mitch McConnell wants another round of stimulus checks for AmericansVideo

Democrats successfully parleyed attacks on health care (note, they didn’t call it “Obamacare”) to their political advantage in the 2018 midterms. Congressional Republicans know that the public is weary of these grandiose promises. It carries even less weight during perhaps the worst public health crisis in American history.

And so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pounced on the Administration’s handling of coronavirus and health care.

“In this election in November, science, science, science and science are going to be on the ballot. That is what is at stake here. It is a matter of life and death,” said Pelosi. “This is about health and ignoring of the science. The resistance to all of the advice we are getting from scientists.”

No wonder McConnell is imploring people to wear masks.

Pelosi then called the administration’s incessant effort to undo Obamacare “unfathomable,” particularly “in the midst of a pandemic.” The speaker noted that enrollment in Obamacare is up 46 percent compared to this time last year. She underscored that stat to say it was “showing an increased need during the coronavirus.”

She highlighted Trump’s brag that he pushed to “slow down” testing.

“By the way, this is not a laughing matter,” said the Speaker.

House Democrats then went out and approved a bill which they said would bolster ObamaCare. This comes as 5.5 million Americans lost their insurance due to the pandemic.

Democrats balked at the price tag set by drug manufacturer Gilead Sciences for the therapeutic remdesivir.

“We are in the midst of a full-blown global health crisis,” said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.. “We need to make sure any treatment that has the potential to save lives is available to all those who need it, not just those who can afford it.”

Republicans ran on ObamaCare in 2010. That’s why they flipped control of the House. With the House already theirs, that helped the GOP earn control of the Senate in the 2014 midterms. Now, it’s not exactly clear what Republicans can run on – especially in the grips of a health catastrophe. And, the fact that Democrats were already performing exceedingly well on health care likely puts GOPers further behind the eight ball.

Here’s the broader, perhaps longer-term problem for Republicans. Liberal Democrats have been preaching “Medicare for All” for a couple of years now. Republicans immediately weaponized the phrase. Republicans argued liberals hoped to socialize medicine and limit care, based on a European model.

There are plenty of concerns about centralizing health care. But one wonders if problems with health information, advice and even access to care will alter the way Americans look at the U.S. system through a different prism in a post-COVID world. And, will have coronavirus irreparably maimed the GOP’s credibility on any health issue after the party’s thrashing around on Obamacare for years and the administration’s handling of the pandemic? Possible. That’s why Pelosi intends to focus on health care this fall.

In fact, it will be almost impossible not to address health issues in the autumn.

Coronavirus cases are spiking to staggering levels right now. Parents are now fretting about how healthy it is to return students to the classroom. School boards, teachers and administrators are torn as to what to do.

This doesn’t help Congressional Republicans down ballot when the President and members of his administration either directly undercut the scientific community or the CDC when it comes to coronavirus.

Health care, hygiene and safety are central to the election. And it’s a legacy issue. Voters will likely remember which party they felt handled issues of health and science best. And the impact of how voters remember this crisis could likely echo for elections to come.

Source Link:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/voters-will-likely-remember-which-party-they-believe-handled-health-science-best

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