Just weeks after his first inauguration, President Obama held a meeting with congressional leadership to discuss legislative agendas. Of course health care came up and Sen. Mitch McConnell responded, as Republicans had for a generation, by raising tort reform. To McConnell’s dumbfounded amazement, Obama did not reject the suggestion, as had a generation of Democrats before. “Let’s put that on the table,” he said.
Now you might think that after all those years of pounding the table for it the Republicans would have a bill for tort reform folded and waiting in Mitch’s inside pocket. But no, not a bill. Not even an outline. Bupkis.
The Democrats went to work on the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare) while the Republicans sulked. When it was passed the whole right-wing world claimed it was being “crammed down our throats.” Not a word has passed from their lips about tort reform since.
This was brought to my mind recently by a President Trump tweet regarding a court case against Obamacare. In it he referred to “something so much better ...” Now, again, you might think after months of campaigning on the chant of “repeal and replace” and two years of congressional dominance the Republicans would have a bill in the works or at least an outline to discuss. But no. No bill. No outline. Never was one. Never was any intention. They lied. All of them.
Like tort reform and “repeal and replace,” “crammed down our throats” seems to have left the Republican lexicon. Perhaps because after two years of this presidency Republican congressional representatives have entirely lost their gag reflex.