The Senate’s health care bill

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Senate Republicans released their proposed health care bill, which, if it passes, must be reconciled to the bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Go here for a helpful comparison of the Senate bill with that of the House of Representatives and with Obamacare.

But the Senate bill is already in trouble.  Republicans have 52 seats, so they can lose two votes.  But four senators have announced their opposition:  Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), and Ron Johnson (WI).

These are conservatives, but moderates aren’t fond of the bill either.  Changes to satisfy these four might jeopardize it with the moderates.

Obamacare is unlikely to be replaced, just revised.  And maybe not even that.

Photo of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee (from left), by Gage Skidmore, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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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 vs. his own supporters?

House_Freedom_Caucus_logoThe plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare that was shot down on Friday was complicated politically.  Nearly all Republicans wanted the “repeal” part, just as nearly all Democrats opposed it.  The hangup was on the “replace” part.  Conservative Republicans, by and large, opposed the proposed replacement as little more than “Obamacare lite,” retaining the huge government role in healthcare that they oppose in the current law.  So it isn’t completely fair to say that Republicans who wouldn’t vote for the replacement were refusing to repeal Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act was a creation of Speaker Paul Ryan and other “establishment” Republicans who accept a somewhat more activist role for government.

Here is the irony:  Virtually all of the “Freedom Caucus” Republican congressmen who were responsible for defeating the bill were Trump supporters during the presidential campaign!  Ryan and the other authors of the proposed health care plan not so much!

Yet President Trump allied himself with his former opponents, throwing the full force of his office behind their bill, and now vilifies the lawmakers who otherwise are on his side! [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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Trump threatens opponents of his health care bill

AHCA changesPresident Trump is pressuring conservative Congressmen who are opposed to his health care bill.  The “repeal and replace” response to Obamacare, which retains many of the elements of that program, is facing a vote on Thursday.

The president says that representatives who vote “no” may not get re-elected.  He said that he would campaign for those who vote “yes.”

This time President Trump is on the same side as Republican leaders such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who are usually branded as the “establishment” by Trump supporters.  Still wanting a government role in health care, the GOP leadership is also leaning on bill opponents, implying that they might face primary opposition if they do not get on board.  But they have also added “sweeteners” to win more votes.

While conservative Republicans, especially members of the “freedom caucus,” oppose the government’s continued involvement in citizen’s health care decisions, liberal Democrats object to any changes at all to Obamacare.

The vote will be close.  Some 20-25 House Republicans either oppose the bill or are undecided.  Trump can only afford to lose 21.

UPDATE:  Conservative organizations, some of which distribute campaign money, are threatening supporters of the bill, saying that a “yes” vote will brand lawmakers to be insufficiently conservative to earn their support.  The health care bill is shaping up to be the first major policy conflict between Trump and conservatives.

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