Harry Reid expected a GOP “doc fix” amendment, which would have either eliminated the Dems’ false claims of deficit reduction, or aggravated the AMA (one of the bought “stakeholders”) and doctors generally. In 1994, a GOP amendment gutting the employer mandate passed unanimously, which was key to the ClintonCare’s demise. The opposition to ReidCare’s “pay or play” from Left and Right should have made it a similarly inviting target. Without effective mandates, the bill’s math would have fallen apart. These are just my two favorite examples. I am sure others have their own candidates.
Some point to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s track record of losing almost every major legislative battle he has managed. But the problem may be more systemic. The Senate GOP began almost entirely focused on the “public option,” and did not start turning against the mandates that drive ObamaCare until weeks after the summer recess. The Republican caucus may not be much less corporatist than their Democrat counterparts. The differences between today’s Senate GOP and 1994 may be: (1) Big Insurance is largely onboard with ReidCare; and (2) McConnell is not planning on running for president, as Bob Dole was in ‘94.