GOP Obamacare Repeal Follies
In an earlier piece I looked at the Trump Administration’s position on ACA repeal and replace. The GOP Congress has been waiting for the WH to lead the way as they know that any plan they put forward will end up being dismissed by Trump on Twitter.
Trouble is Trump doesn’t have much to say about it-doesn’t know much about it. Kasich says you have to explain it to Trump and then explain it again. And his advisers are as divided on a replacement plan as GOPers in Congress.
Now a new Wall Street Journal piece has the latest on the GOP Congressional strategy. David Frum sums it up:
This seems less a plan to repeal Obamacare, more a plan by leadership to divert blame onto others when repeal fails https://t.co/mB64voYjVh
— David Frum (@davidfrum) February 27, 2017
The Wall Street Journal:
“Republican leaders are betting that the only way for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act is to set a bill in motion and gamble that fellow GOP lawmakers won’t dare to block it.”
“Party leaders are poised to act on the strategy as early as this week, after it has become obvious they can’t craft a proposal that will carry an easy majority in either chamber. Lawmakers return to Washington Monday after a week of raucous town halls in their districts that amplified pressure on Republicans to forge ahead with their health-care plans.”
“Republican leaders pursuing the “now or never” approach see it as their best chance to break through irreconcilable demands by Republican centrists and conservatives over issues ranging from tax credits to the future of Medicaid.”
“The new strategy means the health-care law could be overhauled in three precarious steps—reflecting the difficulties of concurrently repealing and replacing the law, as President Donald Trump had sought.”
They have zero margin for error:
“Republicans can afford to lose no more than two GOP votes in the Senate and 22 in the House, assuming they get no support from Democrats. That means any GOP faction could torpedo the repeal effort by withholding its support—and members of each have threatened as much.”
“So they have to basically get unanimous GOP support with huge pro ACA protests across the country. GOPer Mo Brooks worries that the heavy criticism the GOP is getting at the town halls is getting to some Republicans. ”
“I’ll tell you, Toni, there are a, in my opinion, a significant number of congressmen who are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak,” the Alabama congressman said in an interview on “The Morning Show with Toni & Gary” on WBHP 800 Alabama radio. “And I don’t know if we’re going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they’re putting pressure on congressman and there’s not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country.”
Brooks continued, “And you may not even see a vote to repeal Obamacare, you might see something where they call it a repeal but really it’s an amendment. You and I have talked about this before. We need an outright repeal of Obamacare and then whatever’s gonna come after it, fine, let’s have that discussion. But this monstrosity needs to be repealed and right now, in my judgment, we don’t have the votes in Congress to pass a repeal bill, in part because of what these people are doing.”
But the GOP hopes simply ‘ramming through’ something will work. Remember when they were the party mortally opposed to anything ‘rammed through Congress?’
“Advocates of the strategy hope that knife’s-edge math will be an asset rather than a liability. They are betting different groups of Republican lawmakers can be pacified with a handful of concessions, then will swallow hard and vote for a longstanding repeal pledge, first in the House, then in the Senate.”
“You’re a Republican, you’ve been running to repeal Obamacare, they put a repeal bill in front of you… Are you going to be the Republican senator who prevents Obamacare repeal from being sent to a Republican president who is willing to sign it?” said Doug Badger, a longtime Republican leadership health policy adviser.
Maybe. Unless, individual Republicans worry about their own district or future Senate race.
“Mr. Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) are staking almost everything on this bet, because their entire domestic policy agenda, including a highly prized tax overhaul, rests on the health-care maneuver paying off first.”
“GOP leaders hope to push through Congress along party lines a bill now being drafted in the House that would repeal major chunks of the health law, according to Republican aides and lawmakers. The move would require use of the “reconciliation” process in the Senate, which lets measures that are generally budget-related pass with a simple majority instead of 60 votes.”
So basically it’s hope and a prayer or their entire agenda is moribund.
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