Health care defeat hurts GOP brand

WASHINGTON — Republicans face a big problem following the collapse of their latest push to repeal the Obama health care law: Their own voters are angry and don’t trust them.

Right now, they don’t know what to do about it. That’s trouble for a party preparing to defend its House and Senate majorities in 2018 midterm elections that look riskier than most imagined months ago.

President Donald Trump and top congressional Republicans say they’ll take another run next year at dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law. But they’ve made doing just that a core promise in four consecutive national elections with nothing to show for it.

This year’s failure was especially stinging because it was the first time since Obama’s 2010 overhaul law was enacted that they’ve controlled the White House and Congress. The latest debacle came Tuesday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., averted a guaranteed defeat by not holding a vote on a last-resort bill transforming much of Obama’s law into block grants that states would control.

The setbacks are causing strains among Senate Republicans.

The broken promises are an “epic fail” that “puts less trust in the minds of conservative voters,” said Tim Phillips, president of the conservative Americans for Prosperity.

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