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Republican Obamacare Replacement Heads To An Apparent Final Showdown

Capitol Daytime

When we last left the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s plan to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act, Republicans were struggling to find the votes necessary to pass the bill in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives thanks to resistance from the House Freedom Caucus, who feel the bill doesn’t go far enough in repealing various popular measures in the PPACA and moderate Republicans who believe it goes too far and that the proposals from the Freedom Caucus are a ‘poison pill.’ By the end of the afternoon, Republican leadership had decided to pull the bill from the House floor and reschedule it for today, and the Trump Administration was issuing an ultimatum, pass the bill or we walk away from health care reform altogether:

WASHINGTON — President Trump issued an ultimatum on Thursday to recalcitrant Republicans to fall in line behind a broad health insurance overhaul or see their opportunity to repeal the Affordable Care Act vanish, demanding a Friday vote on a bill that appeared to lack a majority to pass.

The demand, issued by his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, in an evening meeting with House Republicans, came after a marathon day of negotiating at the White House and in the Capitol in which Mr. Trump — who has boasted of his deal-making prowess — fell short of selling members of his own party on the health plan.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan emerged from the session and announced curtly that Mr. Trump would get his wish for a vote on Friday. Mr. Ryan refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether he expected the measure to pass.

Although the House Republicans’ closed-door meeting became a cheerleading session for the bill, their leaders braced for a showdown on the floor, knowing they were likely to be at least a handful of votes short of a majority for the health insurance bill and would need to muscle their colleagues to the last to prevail.

Some conservatives were still concerned that the bill was too costly and did not do enough to roll back federal health insurance mandates. Moderates and others, meanwhile, were grappling with worries of their states’ governors and fretted that the loss of benefits would be too much for their constituents to bear.

Mr. Ryan had earlier postponed the initial House vote that was scheduled for Thursday to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s signing. Mr. Trump confronted the possibility of a humiliating loss on the first significant legislative push of his presidency.

At a White House meeting with members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus earlier on Thursday, Mr. Trump had agreed to the conservatives’ demands to strip federal health insurance requirements for basic benefits such as maternity care, emergency services, mental health and wellness visits from the bill. But that was not enough to placate the faction, part of the reason that Thursday’s vote was placed on hold.

As House leaders struggled to negotiate with holdouts in the hopes of rescheduling the vote, Mr. Trump sent senior officials to the Capitol with a blunt message: He would agree to no additional changes, and Republicans must either support the bill or resign themselves to leaving President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement in place.

“We have a great bill, and I think we have a good chance, but it’s only politics,” Mr. Trump said earlier Thursday, as it was becoming clear that his negotiating efforts had failed to persuade enough members of his party to back the plan — which was years in the making — to repeal and replace the health law.

Privately, White House officials conceded that competing Republican factions were each demanding changes that could doom the effort, placing the measure in peril and Mr. Trump’s chances of succeeding at a high-stakes legislative deal in jeopardy. With some of its demands in place, the Freedom Caucus ratcheted up its requests, insisting on a repeal of all regulatory mandates in the Affordable Care Act, including the prohibition on excluding coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and lifetime coverage caps.

Mr. Trump, who has touted his negotiating skills and invited the label “the closer” as the vote approached, was receiving a painful reality check about the difficulty of governing, even with his own party in power on Capitol Hill.

“Guys, we’ve got one shot here,” he told members of the Freedom Caucus at a meeting in the Cabinet Room, according to a person present in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was private. “This is it — we’re voting now.”

“The choice is yes or no,” Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas and a member of the Freedom Caucus, said on Thursday night. “I’m not going to vote no to keep Obamacare. That’d be a stupid damn vote.”

Others were unconvinced.

Having secured Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to eliminate the requirement that insurers offer “essential health benefits,” members of the Freedom Caucus pressed their advantage. While they did not specify precisely which regulations they wanted to eliminate, the section they wanted to gut requires coverage for pre-existing health conditions, allows individuals to remain on their parents’ health care plans up to age 26, bars insurers from setting different rates for men and women, prohibits annual or lifetime limits on benefits, and requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium revenue on medical care.

“We’re committed to stay here until we get it done,” said Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Freedom Caucus. “So whether the vote is tonight, tomorrow or five days from here, the president will get a victory.”

He said 30 to 40 Republicans planned to vote “no”; House leaders can afford to lose only 22 in order to pass the bill.

But for every concession Mr. Trump made to appease critics on the right, he lost potential rank-and-file supporters in the middle, including members of the centrist Tuesday Group who had balked at the bill’s Medicaid cuts and slashed insurance benefits. Moderate Republicans in that group went to the White House on Thursday but emerged unmoved in their opposition.

“There’s a little bit of a balancing act,” conceded Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary.

Representative Leonard Lance, Republican of New Jersey, said he still opposed the bill because he did not believe it would give people “complete and affordable access” to health insurance.

The news about the rescheduled vote came less than an hour after a revised report from the Congression Budget Office that re-scored the bill after taking into account the changes that have been made since the first CBO report. If anything, the changes have made the AHCA seem even worse than it originally appeared to be in the first CBO report. For example, the report found that the revised bill would result in 24 million fewer Americans having health insurance coverage in ten years than under existing law. Additionally, the changes would cut the deficit ‘savings’ from the bill from $337 billion to $150 billion over that same period. Not accounted for in the report were other changes and proposed changes to the PPACA that are reportedly still being considered this morning, including stripping from the law the provisions requirement that all insurance policies cover a defined list of medical conditions, including guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the provisions that allow children to stay on their parents policies up to the age of 26. Eliminating both of these provisions would likely increase the number of uninsured Americans even further than the current CBO estimates. Of course, under the current plan in the House if these provisions are stripped from the bill there will not be sufficient time for the bill to be scored yet again by CBO, and there won’t even be time for members of Congress or the public to see the bill that Congress will be voting on before it gets passed.

These developments also come at the same time that polling indicates that the Republican health care plan is not exactly popular with members of the public. A new poll from Quinnipiac University, for example, finds that just 17% of Americans support the AHCA while some 56% oppose it. Other polling shows that support for the PPACA has actually grown in the weeks since the AHCA was introduced. Additionally, Members of Congress are reporting that phone calls to the Washington and District offices are running overwhelmingly against the bill, which is only likely to reinforce those Republicans who are on record as being against the bill to remain opposed notwithstanding the pressure they are no doubt feeling from House leadership and the White House. Indeed, as things stand this morning it remains entirely unclear whether House Republicans have the votes to pass the bill today any more than they did yesterday, and that’s why it’s entirely unclear what will happen today.

As things stand, it seems likely that the House will only hold a vote if the leadership is reasonably sure that they have the votes to get the bill pass if only because the news going into the weekend that the bill was defeated on the floor would be seen as a massive loss for the President and the leadership that they can’t really afford right now. Notwithstanding the President’s ultimatum, they could also decide to push the vote to the weekend or early next week to try to get the votes they need but given the fact that we’ve gotten this close to a vote and they still can’t say for sure if they have the votes is a strong argument for the idea that either the bill passes today or it isn’t going to pass in its present form at all.

Of course, even if the AHCA passes the House, it still has the Senate to contend with. First, there will be the issue of whether or not Republicans will be successful in getting around the sixty-vote threshold normally required for legislation by invoking the reconciliation process, an issue that remains unclear given current Senate rules. If they aren’t able to do this, then the bill will essentially be dead in the water since there’s no way the GOP will get sufficient Democratic votes to invoke cloture on the bill as it is. Even if they are able to invoke reconciliation, though, the fate of the bill remains unclear because it doesn’t appear that there are at least 50 Republican votes to pass the bill in its present form. Conservative Senators such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee have already said that they oppose the bill and their opposition alone would be enough to prevent the bill from passing. In addition to the conservatives, though, there have also been signals from some moderate Republicans that they have problems with the AHCA, problems that are only likely to increase if the final bill out of the House is changed in the way that the House Freedom Caucus wants. What all of this means is that the Senate is likely to make its own changes to the bill, many of which are likely to be anathema to the House, and the whole matter will either head to a conference committee or collapse under its own weight. Given that, one wonders why any House member currently opposed to the bill would change their mind and put their necks on the line for a bill that isn’t going to pass anyway.

Update: The AHCA was pulled from the House floor before a final vote could be held. Details in my afternoon update.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Remember when the Republicans were always complaining that Obamacare was being jammed down their throats? Good times, good times.

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  2. Keith says:

    “the plan — which was years in the making”

    Is this a joke? The AHCA “Plan” is about a week old, and is in a state of constant flux today. The CBO can’t even score whatever the most recent iteration of the “plan” is.

    The only thing which seems to have been “years in the making” is “No” to the PPACA, regardless of the consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Gustopher says:

    How would Trump enforce his ultimatum? If the House were to spend another month on this, pass something and get it through the Senate, would he then veto it?

    He’s like a child holding his breath, demanding to be given ice cream. His only control of the situation comes from people giving into him.

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  4. Mark Ivey says:

    “Why would any Republican at this point throw their support behind a guy who has a 37% approval rating and is actively being investigated by the FBI?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Good point. And it’s another illustration of just how deep Trump’s lack of understanding of how government works really is. He still thinks he’s sitting in Trump Tower, yelling “my way or the highway” and “you’re fired” at a fleet of quaking minions.

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  6. al-Ameda says:

    Representative Leonard Lance, Republican of New Jersey, said he still opposed the bill because he did not believe it would give people “complete and affordable access” to health insurance.

    Question: Why is this man a Republican?

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  7. JohnMcC says:

    I was so gullible that I voted for Nixon because he had a secret plan to end the war. I was so easily fooled that I thought Republicans would be committed to bringing down the deficit. I actually thought that Speaker Ryan could lead a legislative majority. I used to believe that the R-party held the security of America above everything.

    It has finally – now that I’m old – become clear that the Republican party and the so-called ‘conservative’ movement is a scourge and plague in our political life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Grumpy Realist says:

    I wanna see someone hit Trump in the face about the contents of this so-called “great” bill, point out the number of people expected to drop/lose Heath care insurance, and ask him how he reconciles this with all the promises he was making as a candidate.

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  9. Hal_10000 says:

    Such a great deal-maker is this Trump. Republicans write the bill. He has no idea what’s in. Puts together no compromises or deals. Just declare that they either pass it or he’ll walk away.

    It’s kind of astonishing to watch the GOP drive right into the wall. The problem is that they were desperate to please the base by “repealing” Obamacare immediately but knew that killing it would be a disaster so put together this Frankenstein thing that please no one. They need to kill this bill and come up with a real plan, not this gibberish. They’ve got two years until the next election, four until 2020. That’s plenty of time to come up with something better. Not that they will.

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  10. DrDaveT says:

    Even so, I think there’s about a 30% chance that this piece of malicious crap becomes law in the next few weeks. That’s how low I think Congress has sunk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I have to say that it’s amusing to watch the Trumpkins struggle to rationalize this fiasco. The funniest excuse I’ve heard is that The Evil Paul Ryan duped The Innocent Donald Trump.

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  12. Mr. Bluster says:

    @al-Ameda:..Question: Why is this man a Republican?

    Here’s his voting record. You figure it out.
    http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/4443/leonard-lance#.WNVHnoW8SAI

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  13. reid says:

    @Grumpy Realist: “Someone told me that it would work. I don’t know. It’s still much better than that collapsing nightmare called Obamacare, believe me.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    I wanna see someone hit Trump in the face about the contents of this so-called “great” bill, point out the number of people expected to drop/lose Heath care insurance, and ask him how he reconciles this with all the promises he was making as a candidate.

    I don’t think this fantasy would play out the way you hope. Did you see the Time interview with Trump? Delusional doesn’t even begin to describe him. He truly is unmoored from reality. Basically, he says that he doesn’t go with facts and analysis, but with his gut. If he says something that is currently not true, it will be true eventually. Think about that. I can never be wrong about these random words that fall out of my mouth because if they are not true now they will be eventually.

    Republi-facts.

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  15. reid says:

    @Hal_10000: The Republicans have had months since the election to at least think about this, knowing they would have control of government. Of course, they could have spent the last several years taking the time to come up with a plan. But it’s so much easier to just oppose everything the Democrats put forward. On the one hand, I think the lot of them are lazy and just not very bright, but on the other hand I do understand that it’s an impossible task.

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  16. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Hal_10000:..It’s kind of astonishing to watch the GOP drive right into the wall.

    Fools!
    They could burrow under it like the weasels they are since it will only have a six foot deep barrier.
    Seems like I have heard of tunnels under the border 50′ deep.
    http://www.univision.com/univision-news/immigration/3d-simulation-of-president-trumps-wall-based-on-his-own-specifications

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    Another Republi-fact: The moron Party talking point is now that if you want to live in a state that mandates actual health care for health care insurance, move to a state that does or change the laws. Cruel, but logical. So, why is this a Republi-fact? Because they have promised from Day 1 that the magic of the marketplace will solve all health care woes and one of the key points of that is the ability to sell policies across state lines. In fact, they have sworn up and down that they will pass that in Bucket 2 or Bucket 3 or ShoeBox 7 or some such nonsense. And if you can sell an insurance policy across state lines, all you need is one Mississippi or Alabama or other Trump state to say “No Rulez Here!” and then it doesn’t matter what your own state law says.

    So, bottom line, the Republicans are lying, or they don’t understand, or they are hopelessly wrong, but in the end they are just words that fall out of their mouth and can change tomorrow or five minutes from now with no cognitive dissonance in their nasty reptilian brains. You know, your basic Republi-fact.

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  18. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: And yet Winston Churchill is credited with saying “a young man who is a conservative has no heart; an old man who is not a conservative has no brain.”

    My how times have changed.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    and ask him how he reconciles this with all the promises he was making as a candidate.

    He intends to reconcile this the way he always does, in fact the way Republicans generally will reconcile this or anything else. He’ll lie.

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  20. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: Republicans don’t want something better. They want the government to not be involved with providing health care. Period. They would repeal Medicare, Medicaid, and close the Public Health Service if they could get away with it. They would defund vaccinations for poor children (but not the requirement that they have vaccinations to go to school) if they could get away with it. They don’t care if either one of us dies tomorrow from preventable disease and don’t care that you normally support them. Figure. It. Out.

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  21. al-Ameda says:

    @Mr. Bluster:

    Here’s his voting record. You figure it out.
    http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/4443/leonard-lance#.WNVHnoW8SAI

    Yes, he’s a pretty generic – not especially extreme – Republican.
    I asked the question, admittedly with some snark attached, in the context of his remark:
    Representative Leonard Lance, Republican of New Jersey, said he still opposed the bill because he did not believe it would give people “complete and affordable access” to health insurance.
    Seriously, are there any Republicans who genuinely want people to have government-sponsored “complete and affordable access” to health insurance? If there are, I do question why they’re Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes, I especially love how all these “pro-life” guys are so willing to raise the price of health insurance for pregnant women.

    And if they manage to get rid of the “preexisting conditions” bar, expect a whole bunch of Down syndrome kids and other handicapped kids to lose their health insurance, period. I suspect the next bar the health insurance companies would go after is the genetic discrimination bar.

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  23. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Even so, I think there’s about a 30% chance that this piece of malicious crap becomes law in the next few weeks.

    I agree, more or less.

    When I think about the Republican Party today, my mind drifts back to the movie Fargo. One of the fascinating things about that film is that it’s an intelligent, thought-provoking story about people who are complete morons. After decades of countless thrillers about suave criminal masterminds, here you have a group of characters carrying out a crime that is not well-planned at all, where they make one dumb mistake after the other, and where their goals are largely unsustainable and self-destructive. And yet, despite all that, they very nearly get away with the crime; only a very dedicated and brilliant detective manages to stop them.

    That could serve as a metaphor for the Trump-era GOP. They’re really very bad at what they do, but they exist within a system that’s stacked to help them succeed. That’s part of how we ended up with Trump to begin with. His entire campaign for president was practically a textbook example of how not to run a presidential campaign. And yet, in part because of our absurd electoral system and in part because of a compliant party who will swallow anything if they think it’ll help them acquire more power, he managed to find his way to the White House.

    The same is true about the way they govern. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and even if they did, they’re trapped in an unsustainable situation because they made promises they knew they couldn’t keep and misled millions of voters about what their agenda actually entails. That’s how they ended up here, trying desperately to pass a bill nearly everyone realizes stinks. And yet, despite all the problems they’re encountering, they may well succeed in doing just that. And in the end they might not even suffer too much politically from it. Maybe they will, but it’s not inevitable. That’s the system we live in: it doesn’t so much reward stupidity and mendacity as neglect to punish those things anywhere near as often as it should.

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  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Kylopod: Looks like they’re going to go for a vote around 4-5pm today.

    If this piece of absolute garbage gets passed, I will take great pleasure in watching the whinging of Trump supporters over the years as they lose more and more health care and have to pay more and more for what they get. Stupidity should hurt.

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  25. Lit3Bolt says:

    @grumpy realist:

    They’ll still blame Obamacare, though…that’s why the Republicans will leave a vestige of it intact, so their voters can moan and undulate and die in front of it, while Republican politicians and insurance companies laugh their asses off at them.

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  26. Kylopod says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Yes, he’s a pretty generic – not especially extreme – Republican. … Seriously, are there any Republicans who genuinely want people to have government-sponsored “complete and affordable access” to health insurance? If there are, I do question why they’re Republicans.

    First of all, I see he represents a fairly swing-y district in New Jersey. While it’s been represented by a Republican for most of the past century, it’s often voted for the Democratic presidential nominee, including Obama in 2008 and Clinton in 2016.

    Second, while the GOP today does not favor universal, affordable, government-sponsored health care, many of its politicians (including Trump) like to pretend that they do, because they know it’s far more popular than what they actually favor.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    I wanna see someone hit Trump in the face about the contents of this so-called “great” bill, point out the number of people expected to drop/lose Heath care insurance, and ask him how he reconciles this with all the promises he was making as a candidate.

    Fixed that for you.

    Only half joking. My inner Buddha makes me not want to see him harmed, but I really want to see him learn the harm he causes, and sometimes negative reinforcement works. I wish him no lasting damage, just a short presidency and a long life filled with public scorn and derision, where he is unable to settle down anywhere within 500 feet of a school, church or park.

    My inner Buddha thinks I am hiding behind technicalities.

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  28. Franklin says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    They’ll still blame Obamacare, though…that’s why the Republicans will leave a vestige of it intact

    I’m going to mostly disagree here. In the modern world of “what have you done for me lately,” I think the Republicans will be the one holding the hot potato. They broke it they bought it.

    /I’m only somewhat sorry for the poorly mixed metaphors …
    //But yes, some diehards will always blame Obama for everything.

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  29. teve tory says:

    Been following political journalists on twitter all day. This sucker is going down in flames. Ryan doesn’t even want to have a vote; trump’s demanding it.

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  30. Blue Galangal says:

    @grumpy realist: They *already are* trying to dump the genetic discrimination.Companies can now request “voluntary” genetic info on employees.

    What I’d like to see is just one of the people who posted here ad nauseum about Pelosi’s “have to pass it to see what’s in it” explain this:

    “In my district right now there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we’re doing,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “And once we get it done, and then we can have the chance to really explain it.”

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  31. Blue Galangal says:

    @Kylopod:

    The same is true about the way they govern. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and even if they did, they’re trapped in an unsustainable situation because they made promises they knew they couldn’t keep and misled millions of voters about what their agenda actually entails.

    Or, as Richard Mayhew* over at Balloon Juice put it (regarding the Monday ratfkery taking away the HSA subsidy splitting), “There is no coherent policy thought here. It is an absurdity.”

    *I know he has a real name now but he’s been Mayhew for so long…

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  32. Kylopod says:

    @Blue Galangal: Just about every talking point the GOP ever raised against Obamacare turns out to be substantially more true about their own bill.

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  33. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I’m not so sure. For example, your inner Buddha must know that Karma is a beeyotch. And doesn’t inner Buddhism have a schadenfreude exemption?

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  34. Scott says:

    It looks like the AHCA is going down. Good. Now if the Demos are smart (always an iffy proposition) they would put forward a package of fixes for the ACA. And they need to do this before the Republicans ramp up their sabotage operations. It will be a race for capturing the narrative.

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  35. reid says:

    @Scott: Hopefully one good thing that will come out of all of this is a heightened awareness of health care policy. The ignorance and misinformation has been appalling. Maybe as people have come to realize how horrible the Republican alternative is, the ACA will as an unexpected result get some new fans. Again, karma may be working in unexpected ways… or I’m just a hopeless optimist.

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  36. KM says:

    @Franklin:
    There’s a story out there right now about a woman praising Trumpcare for making sure her son has insurance . When it was pointed out Trumpcare hadn’t passed and it was Obamacare she was loving, she refused to believe it. God gave her this gift and she’s never trusted a President like she trusts Trump in her own words.

    These people will believe what they want to believe. Trump good, Obama bad. Conservative good, liberal bad. Any and all blame will fall on those they don’t like and there’s a frighteningly high number of them. If the GOP takes a hit, it will be individual members like Ryan who will be quickly replaced with the AssKisser du Jour Trump tweets about. Trump can break whatever the hell he wants and Repubs will blame the glass for falling on the floor and any liberal in shouting distance.

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  37. Dumb Brit says:

    @DrDaveT: so about the same chance Nate Silver gave Trump of becoming POTUS!

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  38. anjin-san says:

    @MarkedMan:

    ShoeBox 7

    Don’t be dissing ShoeBox 7. It shows great promise. Believe me.

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  39. anjin-san says:

    @KM:

    These people will believe what they want to believe.

    They already believe that Obama WAS spying on Trump, and that Trump has been vindicated. This sort of thing does not make me optimistic about the future of our country.

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  40. KM says:

    And the vote’s been pulled again!

    Kudos on knowing when to fold ’em, guys. This may have been the smartest thing you’d done all week month year.

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  41. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Yup. I was going to post that the bill has been pulled again.

    Now–are they going to try to get more people on board by tweaking it again and trying again on Monday, or will Trump actually drop this issue as promised and move on to another of his pet projects?

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  42. Mr. Bluster says:

    Ryan is Cryin’!
    See Pic.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-votes-congress-236459

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  43. grumpy realist says:

    Maybe we can see a firestorm starting between the Tea Party and the Trumpites?

    (oh please oh please of please….)

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  44. Hal_10000 says:

    They’ve put off the vote. It’s dead. The fundamental problem was that they were trying to please too many masters:

    1) business types who wanted taxes cut.
    2) deficit hawks who didn’t want (1) to explode the debt
    3) people who didn’t to lose the benefits of Ocare
    4) conservatives who don’t like the regulation and want a more market-oriented approach.
    5) people worried about a death spiral in the individual markets

    Normally, you’d spend months or even years trying to reconcile these competing interests into a bill that no one loved but all could accept. This was supposed to be what uber-deal maker Trump would bring to the table. But they were scuttled by.

    6) Tea Partiers demanding that Ocare be repealed immediately (despite needing 60 votes).
    7) Trump wanting action immediately.

    So this Frankenstein emerges, everyone hates it and it goes down in flames. Sad!

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  45. Mr. Bluster says:

    REPUBLICANS YANK OBAMACARE REPEAL BILL

    Looks like he’s trying to yank something else…
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-votes-congress-236459

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  46. Kylopod says:

    @KM: Also keep in mind that part of the reason for the AHCA’s unpopularity is that the right thinks it has too much coverage. Indeed, if not for that factor it would probably have passed already. The “moderates” have been holding back, but according to most reports the single biggest hurdle to the bill’s passage has come from the Freedom Caucus.

    Of course politics is always a balancing act between competing factions. Obamacare itself was the result of that process, as is any major piece of legislation. What sets the AHCA apart is that it’s based fundamentally on misleading people about what it does. I get the feeling that a large number of voters are only now waking up to the fact that repealing Obamacare would actually cause people to lose their medical coverage. A great deal of GOP messaging over the last several years has been based on perpetuating the notion that it would have the opposite effect.

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The essential flaw is simple; Republican ideas do not actually work within reality. The bill was at 17% in polls. Had it been at 45 or 50% they’d have overcome the Freedom Caucus. But the bill was fundamentally cruel, stupid and destructive in reality. and that reality left the bill with zero support outside of the hard-right lunatic fringe – and the fringe of that fringe didn’t like it because it might still have covered a few black people and immigrants.

    On the down-side, I guess I don’t get that tax cut.

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  48. Scott says:

    @Hal_10000: Unfortunately, 3 and 5 are the most important to us people but not to the radical right.

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  49. DrDaveT says:

    @Dumb Brit:

    so about the same chance Nate Silver gave Trump of becoming POTUS!

    Well spotted. 😉

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  50. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: They were also scuttled by their utter stupid lack of any viable replacement despite having had nearly a decade to craft one.

    But no, a million pointless, useless votes to “repeal Obamacare” was what they did instead.

    They forgot the principle of the Six P’s: “Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.”

    And it seems Trump’s “Art of the Deal” was just a crappy finger painting by a spoiled brat.

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  51. David M says:

    Obamacare survives the GOP attempt to kill it outright, but there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to sabotage it, regardless of the suffering they cause.

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  52. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod:

    Also keep in mind that part of the reason for the AHCA’s unpopularity is that the right thinks it has too much coverage.

    Yeah. It didn’t butt-rape the poor hard enough for them.

    Monsters, each and every one.

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  53. Jc says:

    7 years! lol. its a joke. As Jerry said to George “and you want to be my latex salesman…” Except now its Trump and Ryan

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  54. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Naw, don’t worry; they’ll find another program to pillage for your tax cut.

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  55. grumpy realist says:

    I had to quote this from a thread over at NYMag:

    Congratulations, President Obama, on your first post-presidential political victory!

    I also suspect that former Congresscritter John Boehner is laughing his ass off.

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  56. gVOR08 says:

    @David M: Too true. CBO said Obamacare is stable, isn’t in a death spiral, But it’s within the power of the GOPs to change that.

    But for today, let’s enjoy the schadenfreude. The world’s greatest negotiator wasn’t able to sell the Republican health care plan — to the Republicans.

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  57. David M says:

    Actually, I think they’ll keep sabotaging it on the *national* level, not the State level. Kansas was already considering accepting the medicaid expansion, I wonder if the other hold-outs will reconsider now that there’s no repeal in sight.

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  58. reid says:

    @Kylopod: Paul Ryan is speaking now, saying exactly that. Continuing to urinate on Obamacare, calling it a disaster and that they would have been doing a favor to Democrats if they had been able to replace it before it imploded, and that their bill was awesome and would have put a free unicorn in every pot. I can’t stand him.

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  59. grumpy realist says:

    One last interesting bit on the fallout…..

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  60. grumpy realist says:

    And another analysis showing how even though the bill was finally yanked, Ryan may have already managed to sabotage Trump’s future clout.

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