After the 2012 election, I began telling people that even if the Republicans won unified control of government, they wouldn't repeal Obamacare. The Medicaid expansion and subsidies would have kicked in, and repealing it would have meant taking away people's health insurance. It would be too dangerous, and they wouldn't risk it. I started wavering on that point when the particular form of unified government included Donald "grab 'em by the pussy" Trump, who may have convinced the party that they can get away with anything if they just brazen it out.
Right now, it looks like the will of the party in the Senate to go through with it is faltering. The House version doesn't have the support in the Senate, and the Freedom Caucus still thinks it's too squishy. Of course, Obamacare itself was declared dead enough times that we shouldn't be too hasty in declaring defeat, but the basic point is that the chances of repeal are far from certain.
And who is leveling with the party about this?
Story time. Back in 2013, we had a government shutdown, and it led to the downfall of John Boehner. Remember how I said 2012 was the last chance to defeat Obamacare? That was because the idiots who wrote the bill didn't have the benefits kick in until after the 2012 election. Complicated budgetary games. You know who knew that in October 2013 as the fiscal year came to an end? (Fiscal years run from October to October. Kind of like academic years, but different.) Ted Cruz. So, he decided to use that for his own ends.
You see, the House Freedom Caucus (those would be the people John Boehner used to call the "knuckleheads") are basically a group of people who live up to the worst stereotypes that liberals have of conservatives. They are the Bernie Sanders-es of the right. (Yup, I still hate that fuckin' guy). That also means they are extreeeeeeemly stupid. So, in 2013, Ted Cruz came along and told them the following lie: shut down the government by refusing to approve new spending bills, and don't agree to anything until Obama agrees to defund Obamacare. Really, trust him. Obama will cave.
Yeah, fuckin' right.
Of course, it didn't work. The ploy was that Obama would never cave. Rather, the Freedom Caucus would force Boehner to shut down the government, public opinion would shift against the Republicans, Boehner would be forced to cave, and then Ted Cruz would tell the Freedom Caucus that Boehner sold out the cause, and that if only he had held out a little longer, Obama was just about to cave. Instead, they should all listen to Ted Cruz, the right and true leader of the conservative movement. It was all a scam to set up his presidential campaign by sticking a knife in John Boehner's back.
Which was exactly what he did, contributing to Boehner's downfall.
The basic problem was that Ted Cruz, and people like him kept feeding the Freedom Caucus false promises about what could and would be accomplished. For seven years now, Republicans have been going on about repeal-and-replace. This may very well fail. And if it does, someone could take the fall because it has all been a lie. Chances of a repeal may have ended when Romney lost, and they only even existed then because the Democrats who wrote the bill were stupid enough to delay the start of the benefits.