Ryancare: The Dog That Caught the Car…and Was Run Over by It

Ryancare: The Dog That Caught the Car…and Was Run Over by It March 23, 2017

In article after article, I’ve read the Ryancare/Trumpcare repeal and replace scramble referred to as “the dog that caught the car.” What do I do with it now!???

But I think it’s closer to the dog that caught the car…and was run over.

The dog caught the car. Now what do I do with it? In their reckless rush to pass Ryancare/Trumpcare, the GOP is fortunately sealing the AHCA's doom.

In their reckless, headlong rush to pass Ryancare, Speaker Ryan and President Trump are sealing its doom. Yeah, I’m not shedding any tears on its pending demise, either. Nor are the 24 million Americans who will lose their healthcare, according to both the original CBO estimate and its update (with half as much deficit reduction in the revised plan).

But then, the CBO is attempting to score a moving target, as Paul Ryan feverishly re-renegotiates the AHCA in a so-far vain effort to corral enough of his herd to pass it. Thus far, the speaker’s efforts have concentrated on making concessions to Freedom Caucus hardliners who actually think the AHCA is too generous.

Some, like Rep. Jeff Duncan even want to strip Obamacare’s prohibition against pre-existing condition exclusions from plan. Though that’s not a popular stance even among wingnuts, Ryan’s sops to them have further driven away GOP moderates like the House’s Tuesday Group.

All along, Ryan has been warning the tea partiers that the changes they want would scuttle any chances of passing the AHCA in the Senate via the reconciliation process. Thanks to the Byrd Amendment, a bill can only be passed using reconciliation process if there no extraneous, non-budgetary measures in it.

If the Senate parliamentarian rules that the AHCA doesn’t qualify for reconciliation (which only needs 51 votes to pass), the plan will require 60 votes to overcome the inevitable Democratic filibuster. Now, some are pushing a likely spurious theory that these ultra-conservative changes might not scuttle the plan’s chances in the Senate.

As it is, though, those 51 votes are far from assured. And that’s leaving out the moderate and Medicaid-expansion state senators who have expressed grave doubts and outright opposition to the AHCA before its recent rightward drift.

All told, a dozen senators on both the right and the center are either on the fence or have already hopped off. Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that even if Ryancare somehow manages to eke out a narrow victory in the House, that master Machiavellian, Mitch McConnell is planning to kill it with quickness.

In the early days of Obamacare, conservatives warned darkly of death panels. But McConnell will sign the AHCA’s death warrant by not having it considered by panels. His excuse is that they need to clear the deck for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch the following week.

And, that’s true to some extent. After refusing to hold hearings for Merrick Garland and keeping Antonin Scalia’s seat open for 13 months, the majority leader must be slavering to reap his reward. But the real reason for McConnell’s haste is that he wants to put the AHCA out of its misery as quickly as possible.

Once Ryancare is truly most sincerely dead, the way will be cleared for something that actually has a chance of passing…like the nomination of the anti-euthanasia Gorsuch.

Ryancare: Reactionary Measures Produce an Equal and Opposite Reaction

Speaking of reconciliation (and death), there is simply no way to reconcile the absolutist, kill-kill-kill demands of the far right with the desire of moderate and expansion state senators to keep thousands of their constituents from losing their healthcare (and dying for want of care).

The CBO estimate projects that 24,000 Americans would die each year if the AHCA passes.

Fortunately, that prospect is looking less and less likely. The vote — which had been scheduled for Thursday has been postponed, after 37 members (or 33 according to the New York Times) — mostly members of the Freedom Caucus — announced their opposition.

Ryancare/Trumpcare can only afford to lose 22 votes, since one representative is out. After getting everything on their wish list, the Freedom Caucus still wasn’t satisfied. They insisted that all the ACA’s mandates be repealed. And they got that, too.

Though the right-wingers didn’t specify which or how many of the provisions they wanted to gut, this section includes the prohibition against pre-existing exclusions and annual and lifetime coverage caps, prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men, and even the popular ability to keep children up to age 26 on their parent’s plan.

But even if they deign to retain the prohibition against pre-existing condition exclusions, as I’ve written, without protections against exorbitant premiums, people with pre-existing conditions will be priced out of affordable insurance.

It’s a pre-existing condition exclusion in all but name.

They would actually be worse off, since they would no longer be able to purchase insurance that excludes their particular condition (or, in my case, conditions), but otherwise provides them health coverage. It’s the worst of both worlds.

Ryancare: If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Paul Ryan hopes to schedule a new vote on Friday.

It should be clear by now that the AHCA is not about improving healthcare, as was made inadvertently plain by a comment by one of Paul Ryan’s whips, Rep. Richard Hudson.

The future of our Republican Party in Congress and the welfare of generations of Americans and their health care is on the line.

This is all too true, but not the way that Hudson meant.

The welfare of generations and their healthcare is indeed on the line…if Ryancare passes. And, certainly, the future of the Republican Party in congress may well be doomed, no matter how the Ryancare debacle debate ends.


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