Oddly enough, Trump’s attempts to muscle Congress and sell TrumpCare to the public are not going terribly well:
Trump’s ownership of the bill is being widely praised by some Republicans. “He’s all in,” gushed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). “It was the right thing for the president to take ownership of it,” enthused Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). Meanwhile, other Republicans report that Trump has made an aggressive pitch to them for the bill, arguing that they will face a voter backlash in 2018 if they don’t deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
But NBC News reports that House Republicans are moving away from the bill:
Yesterday morning, we wrote that 17 House Republicans opposed or leaned strongly against the GOP health-care plan that’s scheduled for a vote Thursday. Then President Trump visited Capitol Hill and appeared to threaten GOP lawmakers …
After that visit, the number of Republicans opposing or leaning strongly against the legislation grew to 27, per NBC News’ count — when Trump and GOP leaders can’t afford more than 21 defections.
As the NBC First Read crew observes, it’s “clear that Trump’s arm-twisting hasn’t paid dividends — at least not yet.”
Meanwhile, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that support for the bill has dropped six points among American voters nationwide, and more voters approve of Obamacare than of the GOP replacement:
Since the Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimate of the Obamacare alternative last week, showing steep coverage losses, the legislation’s approval rating has dipped six points, from 46 percent to 40 percent. Obamacare’s approval rating, on the other hand, sits at 46 percent, as it did in February.
Meanwhile, disapproval of the GOP bill has ticked up two points, for a total net swing against the bill of eight points. What’s more, the new Morning Consult poll shows that only 1 in 5 voters thinks it will decrease their health-care costs, while a plurality of 39 percent think they will increase.
I can imagine voting for this bill for ideological reasons. I can also imagine a House Republican voting for this under the assumption that it will die in the Senate. But any Republican who thinks that it’s better politically to pass this than not pass anything is a maroon. The less popular the bill becomes, the less chance it has of passing the Senate, where the odds are already long.
Still, though, Obama could totally have gotten a public option by threatening to primary senators who weren’t running for anything in states where he wasn’t popular.