Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has been watching the controversy over health care play out from the sidelines, and he understands better than most how hard it is to forge a compromise within his party, even under the best of circumstances.
Boehner is no fan of President Donald Trump, and declared last December that the election campaign had been “the most bizarre political year that we've seen in 100 years.” In the new Trumpian political era, Boehner is persona non grata among many Republicans he once led.
While the former speaker’s comments will be taken with a grain of salt by diehards determined to repeal and replace the Obamacare later this year, Boehner on Thursday predicted that Trump and the Republicans would fall far short of their goal. Instead, they will have to settle for improvements in the Affordable Care Act around the edges.
During a healthcare conference in Orlando, Florida today, the savvy, chain-smoking veteran lawmaker with the year-round tan declared that repeal and replacement of Obamacare are “not going to happen.” as Politico reported.
While Boehner for years led his party in staunch opposition to the Affordable Care Act and initiated legal action to block key provisions of the law, he said today that “Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act” will survive, adding that “Republicans never ever agree on healthcare.”
Boehner hastened his retirement in 2015 after frequent bitter clashes with Tea Party conservatives in his caucus over compromises he was forced to strike with President Obama over budget, debt ceiling and tax issues and funding for Obamacare.
His successor, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), has championed efforts to dismantle Obamacare this spring as part of an expedited budget resolution. Ryan last week unveiled a rough draft of his proposals that he insists would provide cheaper and better insurance coverage for millions of Americans.
Ryan and Trump both vowed to ram their replacement plan through Congress early this year – although it’s not clear now whether the Trump administration will prepare a plan of its own or simply offer advice to Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on what should be in it.
Boehner today dismissed Ryan’s and Trump’s earlier upbeat predictions that their replacement plan would sail through Congress as just “happy talk.”
“I started laughing,” he said. “Republicans never ever agree on health care.”