Speed Reads

round two

Democrats could have the upper hand going into ObamaCare negotiations this year

With a fresh check mark in the "tax reform" box, Republicans return to Capitol Hill in 2018 divided over one of the most significant legislative predicaments leading into the midterm elections: What to do with ObamaCare. Adding to troubles is the fact that the division in the GOP is countered by the unification of Democrats on the issue, giving the latter party "a strong hand to play," Politico writes.

When ObamaCare was first on the chopping block in 2017, Republicans repeatedly failed to reach a consensus on a repeal. While the individual mandate was eventually cut in the tax bill, "the reality is the GOP is so divided on ObamaCare, they don't have the votes to achieve either objective — repeal or stabilization," Politico adds. "That means former President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment could keep limping along, crippled by the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax law but lifted by the surprisingly strong enrollment for the coming year."

While a Trump-approved bipartisan health-care bill is still on the table, led by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the legislation faces longshot odds in the House. Separately, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is working on reviving his own proposal to repeal ObamaCare. "I think it would be crazy if you don't" attempt a repeal again in 2018, he told Politico. "How can you repeal the individual mandate and say we're done? The thing's going to crumble. We better find a replacement that works."