It’s no secret that Paul is ambitious. And if the American Health Care Act fails his position as speaker could be forever hobbled.
He’s not likely to face strong opposition for the position, mind you. It’s not like no one else is hungering for a hand on the gavel. But few who are acceptable to both moderates and right-wingers. And of those, only one was willing to don the chain mail required to herd the GOP delegation’s headstrong cats.
After the wingnuts of the House Freedom Caucus pushed out John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the speakership race, under pressure from said zealots. The House was left with few leadership options. Paul Ryan reluctantly stepped into the quagmire, knowing full well that leadership of the tea-party-stained House could sink his career.
Well, okay, perhaps Paul Ryan’s purported trepidations doth protested too much.
No! Don’t throw me into the second-most powerful position in the DC briar patch!
But it’s telling that no one else acceptable to the majority of House Republicans threw their hats into the three-ring circus.
Still, the speaker is also fully aware that the failure of the AHCA would be an anchor drowning his agenda, as well as that of the president he’s attempted to simultaneously embrace while maintaining enough distance to avoid catching The Donald’s cooties.
How can Paul Ryan get his fractious factions to sign a bill that the CBO projects will kill 24,000 Americans per year?
They’re solving the healthcare problem one dead person at a time!
Dubbed Obamacare-lite by the Freedom Caucus, the legislation preserves too many elements of the ACA for these monomaniacal minions. Yet Ryan was forced to preserve just enough of Obamacare in a bid to bring onboard GOP moderates.
Obamacare without the care! Rah rah rah!
So far, the speaker appears to be losing both wings of the party. (Liberal Republicans were declared extinct in 2012.)
Ryan is throwing scraps at the Freedom Caucus, while hoping against hope that the already dubious moderates won’t be too turned off by the offal — rhymes with awful — he’s tossing out to the rabid rabble.
We’ll make the able-bodied and childless work for their healthcare! Are there no medical workhouses?
And, sure, we’ll allow conservative states to opt for block grants if they think per capita grants frozen at 2016 levels are far too generous (a long-held Ryan wet dream he left out as a concession to moderates). That way, conservative states be able to impose their own eligibility rules.
From now on, only lefthanders who can — at the same time — pat their heads and rub their tummies while singing the Star Spangled Banner on one foot will qualify for Medicaid.
And, hey, while we’re at it, why don’t we toss the Medicaid expansion immediately? Let Mitch sort it out!
Paul Ryan: Damn the Senate, Full Speed Ahead!
At this point, Paul Ryan, may not really care if the AHCA can actually pass the Senate. He just wants the goddamned bill passed in the House.
After all, Susan Collins had already announced that she would vote against the act before the recent Trump/Ryan sops to GOP hardliners. Several other Republican senators from Medicaid expansion states have expressed severe misgivings about it.
Even Trump’s Senate boy toy, Tom Cotton.
With only a two-seat majority, enough senate Republicans — on both the center and the right — have expressed opposition to elements of the AHCA to sink it. That fact alone may convince wavering representatives to vote against the measure. Why stick your political neck out for legislation that will never reach the president’s desk?
A floor vote is scheduled for Thursday. If Ryan is somehow able to eke out a victory, he be able to sit back with that self-satisfied grin of his and watch the AHCA implode in the Senate.
Indeed, it seems increasingly likely that Trumpcare/Ryancare cannot pass the Senate in any form. Should that prove to be the case, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump will be able to claim that they attempted to fulfill their yearslong pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare…without suffering the consequences of 14 million people losing healthcare in the first year and 24 million in the long run.
Well, folks, we tried, they’ll say. Or, as President Trump recently opined:
Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.
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