Trumpcare on Life Support
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
The House version barely passed, heavy pressure enabling passage after initially failing.
As of Monday, four GOP senators joined all 48 undemocratic Democrats, rejecting the misnamed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).
Republicans need 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Pence’s tie-breaker for passage. With four GOP defectors, they lack it.
Trumpcare isn’t dead. It’s on life support close to it. Earlier, GOP Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins expressed opposition to the Senate version – for different reasons.
On Monday, Republican Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran joined them, Lee saying:
“(I)n addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”
Moran said “(w)e should not put our stamp on a bad policy. We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansas.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump invited “some senators over tonight” to discuss the measure.
He reportedly said the GOP will be politically imperiled for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare after promising for years to do it.
“He basically said, if we don’t do this, we’re in trouble,” according to one person briefed on the meeting, adding:
“That we have the Senate, House and White House, we have to do it or we’re going to look terrible.” Separately Trump tweeted:
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”
Easy to say, a chaotic mess if try doing it!
Never underestimate the power of the president to twist arms effectively – though it’s likely BCRA can’t be passed in its current form – even with minor changes.
Don’t count him out, but so far the art of the deal Trump boasts about failed in repealing and replacing Obamacare.
His negotiating skills will be sorely tested to turn things around. At this stage, it looks unlikely short of a bipartisan approach entirely different from what he and GOP hardliners have in mind.
Republicans must either rewrite the measure significantly to get 50 party votes or work with Democrats to fix Obamacare flaws, not replace it.
A coalition of so-called moderate ones and Democrats could likely craft a measure more publicly acceptable. Instead of gutting Medicaid, it would save what’s vital for 75 million Americans.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded defeat, saying “the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare (ACA) will not be successful.”
“So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”
If McConnell intends a vote on repealing ACA alone, creating enormous hardships for millions enrolled, causing them to lose coverage, forcing them to scramble for alternate insurance, he’ll almost certainly fail to get enough Senate support for passage.
As of now, things are back to square one. The only equitable solution is rejected by both parties – universal coverage, ending America’s status as the world’s only developed nation without it in some form.
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