Democrats are prepping to make health care the defining issue for the Senate and the House in 2020

Democrats are prepping to make health care the defining issue for the Senate and the House in 2020
President Donald J. Trump meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional leadership Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

House Democrats feel secure in their majority because they know that health care, the issue that in large part handed them the House in 2018, is still a problem for Republicans in 2020. Senate Democrats are now readying to seize the advantage on the issue as well.


The appeals court decision issued earlier this month, which The Atlantic saw as "blending arrogance and cowardice in equal measure," on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is adding fuel to their fire. "I think it's an opportunity to reset with the new year to remind people that there's a very real threat to tens of millions of Americans," Sen. Brian Schatz, Democrat from Hawaii, told Politico. "We Democrats are always striving to improve the system, but, at a minimum, the American people expect us to protect what they already have." Republicans, clearly, aren't capable of doing that.

And Donald Trump's administration has argued that the whole law should be struck down. That's a thing that has Sen. Susan Collins very concerned. She has even, Politico says, "written multiple times to Attorney General Bill Barr, urging him to defend the ACA in court." Because she clearly has so much sway over, well, any Republican leader. She found a silver lining in the fact that the very political 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to kill the law ahead of the next election, saying it is "significant" that the judges were clearly "very uneasy with the thought of striking down the entire law." Since they remanded the whole thing back to the same judge who had no qualms about saying that the whole law should be unconstitutional because reasons, she's really stretching on that one. She has to reach, though: It was her deciding vote on the Trump tax scam that repealed the Obamacare mandate and triggered this particular legal challenge, something her eventual Democratic opponent is not going to let the voters in Maine forget.

No Republican incumbent is going to be able to run in 2020 without facing that charge, as well as the fact that, in the decade they've been working on sabotaging and destroying the law, they haven't come up with a plan to replace it that is workable or even that can get enough Republican votes to pass. Clearly, no plan is going to come from Trump. On this issue, they're in even worse shape than they were in 2018, and unlike that last election, in which there were a disproportionate number of vulnerable Democrats up, in 2020 it's almost all Republicans on the hot seat.

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