Republicans again fail to repeal & replace Obamacare

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Two more Republican Senators announced that they would oppose the latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, killing the measure.

What about just trying to repeal Obamacare, which has been floated as plan B?  Enough Republicans have said that they will oppose that too, so that proposal is dead in the water.

Republicans say that they want to do away with Obamacare.  But they are unable to do anything about it, even though they control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

I suspect part of the problem is that the proposed replacements are not that different from Obamacare in the first place, so that Republicans don’t want to be blamed for the next unpopular health care plan.

But repealing the Affordable Care Act and going back to the way it was before is also going to be unpopular, since entitlement programs are almost impossible to take back once they are passed.

Then again, the Republican majority seems incapable of passing any substantive program.  This is reportedly the least productive legislature in 164 years.

Why do you think the Republicans are having such trouble governing?

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House votes to repeal & replace Obamacare

640px-Obamacare_replacement_brainstorming_sessionThe House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, a long-time Republican commitment that they could not pull off in March. Now the measure must be passed by the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain and where further changes are likely.
The “American Health Care Act” still leaves us with a national health care program much like Obamacare, resting as it does on individuals buying health insurance.  But the mandate forcing them to do so would be eliminated.  Also the subsidies will be replaced by a different system of federal tax credits.  And states can opt out of various requirements, including being able to set up high risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions.
For a detailed list and explanation of the differences between the proposed “American Health Care Act” and the previous “Affordable Health Care Act,” go here.
One complaint about Obamacare is that it is so complicated.  Trumpcare will also be complicated.  It is basically a revision of Obamacare, but one that is not so generous.  It will leave more people uncovered, since it is no longer forcing them to sign up.  The premiums should be lower, but so will the amount of government money available to help pay for them.
Do you think this new healthcare plan, assuming it gets through the Senate, will be more popular or less popular than the one it replaces?  Does it still do far too much, as far as conservatives are concerned?  Does it do far too little to satisfy the general public?  Will it be a net gain or a net loss for Republicans?
Photograph of White House brainstorming sessions for the American Health Care Act (March 2017) by Vice President Pence @ twitter – Caption; Picture URL, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57023717

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Congress gets busy on the budget & Obamacare

640px-United_States_Capitol_-_west_frontCongress has passed a spending deal that will keep the government from shutting down.  The measure provides for increases in defense and border security.  A bipartisan committee worked out the compromise that will keep the government funded at least through September.

Also, there is a chance that Congress will act on healthcare as early as this week. The White House is claiming to have the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare this week, though Congressional Republicans are more cautious about those prospects.  See this for the current state of the healthcare bill. [Read more…]

Trump can’t withhold all money from sanctuary cities

512px-US_Sanctuary_Cities_Map.svgA court ruled that President Trump may not withhold all federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that do not enforce U.S. immigration laws.

The ruling said that the President may withhold some funds, as already specified in the law.  That will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, a not insignificant punishment.  But only Congress has the power of the purse, so as to have the authority to withhold money from generally applicable and non-related programs such as Medicare, education grants, etc.

Once again, President Trump is checked and balanced.  The courts, Congress, the states keep thwarting his signature issues.  Do you think this is an example of the genius of our Constitutional system or anti-Trump obstructionism?  If this represents a roll-back of the power of the presidency, which has arguably seized too much power over the last decades, do we have a Congress that can fill the void, or does it lack the leadership to fulfill its Constitutional role?  [Read more…]

Trump will keep Obamacare if his healthcare bill fails–which it did

Donald_Trump_(25218642186)Republican lawmakers, seeing that they don’t have the votes, postponed voting on President Trump’s healthcare bill, which was supposed to happen on Thursday.  But the president is demanding a vote on Friday.

Not only that, Trump says that if his “repeal and replace” bill fails, he will just leave Obamacare as the law of the land.

UPDATE:  Lacking the votes to pass it, the Republican leadership pulled the bill.  Speaker Paul Ryan said that we will just have to live with Obamacare.  President Trump blamed the Democrats, all of whom voted against his American Health Care Act, saying that we will just have to watch Obamacare “explode.”

 

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Discuss Trump’s speech to Congress

Trump_CPAC_2011This is the place to discuss President Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress.

You may comment on the speech as the event unfolds, live-blog style, and also once it’s over.

What do you think about his proposals?

Photo by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Co