By Nancy Cook and Burgress Everett
The longer Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare flounder, the clearer it becomes that President Donald Trump’s team and many in Congress dramatically underestimated the challenge of rolling back former President Barack Obama’s signature achievement.
The Trump transition team and other Republican leaders presumed that Congress would scrap Obamacare by President’s Day weekend in late February, according to three former Republican congressional aides and two current ones familiar with the administration’s efforts.
Republican leaders last fall planned a quick strike on the law in a series of meetings and phone calls, hoping to simply revive a 2015 repeal bill that Obama vetoed.
Few in the administration or Republican leadership expected the effort to stretch into the summer months, with another delay announced this weekend, eating into valuable time for lawmakers to tackle tax reform, nominations or spending bills.
As Trump himself infamously remarked, “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated” — even though health care has reliably tripped up past administrations.
Now that the difficulty of getting 50 senators to rally around a bill has come into stark relief, Republicans are starting to acknowledge they misjudged the situation.