Democrats Call Obamacare Repeal ‘Zombie Bill that Keeps Coming Back,’ Plan to Fight On

By Zenny Phuong | July 19, 2017 | 6:20 PM EDT

Democrats see a long road ahead in their fight to preserve Obamacare.

( At a Wednesday press conference, House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda T. Sanchez (D-Calif.) called the Republican Healthcare Bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) “a zombie bill that keeps coming back.”

Sanchez was responding to the following question from a reporter asking when Republicans’ effort to repeal the current health care law will finally “be dead”:

“Democrats have been talking to senators, perhaps more seriously now, about some compromise to fund the exchanges. Is there any way for the bill in the Senate to be transformed by the Republicans in the House into more of a repeal bill? Or, I guess, when will the repeal be dead and when can they start working on something?”

“I think we don’t ever know when it’s dead for sure,” Sanchez said. “It’s like the zombie bill that keeps coming back.”

Based on prior experiences with the House bill, she said, the Caucus views the failure of the Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as merely “a temporary reprieve.”

“We don’t know if the stake has been driven through the heart of the health care attempt,” she said. “We may see other iterations down the line, so we will stay vigilant and see if they try to resurrect it at some point.”

Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said that a continued effort to move forward with a full repeal bill “makes no sense, given the havoc that would be created in markets if there were a repeal bill with a two-year delay.”

Crowley said that, based on his interaction with some Republican colleagues on the House floor, it seems as though House Republicans believe that the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is already over and they “need to move on to other issues.”

“Given their shortcomings so far, this is one of the most, if not the most, unproductive Congresses in the history of our country,” Crowley said, then claimed Democrats have leverage with issues like health care reform because Republicans cannot fund the government without Democratic support:

“That’s what we rely upon for leverage to soften these bills and to make them more Democratic.”

Sanchez said Republicans are “incapable of governing,” referring to their appeal to Democrats to work with them on the health care bill, which she said indicates a fracture in the Republican Party.

“It’s ironic that they hold the majority, that they insist on this ‘go it alone’ approach, and yet when they go it alone, they can’t produce anything,” Sanchez said. “I think there are several Republican parties right now,” she added.

The press conference was held after the effort to pass the BCRA collapsed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will vote next week on repealing Obamacare altogether, instead of replacing it.