Republicans Really Don't Want To Talk About The AHCA

by Seth Millstein
Eric Thayer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The GOP successfully pushed the American Health Care Act through the House of Representatives on Thursday, and normally, passing a huge bill is something a political party would want to talk about. But not so this time: On Saturday, MSNBC host Joy Reid said that her producers invited every single one of the 217 House Republicans who voted for the bill onto her show to defend it, and every single one of them refused. It seems Republicans don't want to discuss the AHCA, even though they voted for it.

"Two hundred and seventeen members of Congress, all Republicans, voted for this bill. These are their names," Reid said as the names of those lawmakers scrolled across the screen. "Here at AM Joy, my tireless producers reached out to each and every one of them to join them today. I offered each of them the lead spot on this show to go one-on-one with me to explain why they voted on the bill, and not a single one agreed. There they are, all the names. Two hundred and seventeen people, not a taker, not a one. Such bravery."

This is shameful, but it isn't surprising. By and large, Republicans have been extremely reluctant to talk about the health care bill that they themselves championed, both before and after passing it.

After Trumpcare had been unveiled, but before Congress passed it, House Republicans were besieged at town halls by furious constituents worried that they'd lose their health care if the GOP repealed Obamacare. In response, a lot of Republican lawmakers simply refused to hold town hall meetings, which is like dealing with a bad hair day by avoiding the mirror. In one instance, a Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado holding a constituent meeting reportedly left through the back door rather than confront the crowd of people waiting to address him by the front entrance.

The GOP stuck to this strategy in the day the bill passed as well. Reporters asked a stream of hurried Republican lawmakers if they had read the bill in its entirety before that day. Some briefly said that they had before rushing along, while many others simply refused to answer and kept right on walking.

All of this begs the question of why Republicans don't want to talk about a bill that they themselves voted for. It might be because it's grotesquely unpopular, especially compared with the legislation it's replacing. According to a March poll, only 17 percent of Americans like the AHCA. By comparison, a majority of Americans, 54 percent, support Obamacare.

Republicans are free, of course, to decline interview requests about the AHCA. But it certainly won't make the bill any more popular.