Former Trump administration officials tell The Washington Post that the administration has given up on the Affordable Care Act replacement plan that it was almost certainly not really doing in the first place. Trump regularly blurts out that he’s working on a beautiful plan, an amazing plan, the best thing you’ve ever seen, at random, but it’s never been clear that it’s really a thing. But the administration had to be “working” on it, because Trump said it was.
A Trump spokesman says the story that they’re not working on a big new plan is “false” and that it’s in the works “as the president and other administration officials have indicated many times.” It’s just that they refuse to “provide details about who is working on such a plan, what it might contain or when it might be ready.” And that no one in any of the conservative groups that would be necessary to work with on a new plan has heard anything about it. “Although we’ve had discussions with the White House on health care,” says maniac group FreedomWorks legislative guy Jason Pye, “we’ve heard nothing from the White House on a health-care plan.”
What they are doing is scrambling to figure out what to do if the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decides to completely overthrow the national’s health care system and declare the whole ACA unconstitutional. While it might not have trickled into Trump’s brain, his people know that’s an impending disaster for all Republicans ahead of an election. “There seems to be a decreasing appetite for the ‘big plan’ reveal and instead just focusing on responding to the 5th Circuit with prudence and a minimum of hysteria,” a former senior administration official told The Washington Post.
Any day now, the 5th Circuit is expected to issue its ruling on the case brought by more than a dozen Republican-led states and Trump that speciously argues that the individual mandate underpinned the entire law, and now that the fines attached to it have been zeroed out by Congress, the whole thing has been invalidated. Never mind that a bipartisan bunch of congresspeople have said it does no such thing, as does judicial precedent—this is an extremely partisan and political court. Few expect it to be constrained by any of that. A Supreme Court with Trump-appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh is unpredictable.
So now the administration is forced to figure out how it’s going to respond if that disaster it’s been asking for—Obamacare completely tossed—happens, knowing that there’s no way it’s going to be able to come up with anything remotely resembling a replacement.