Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pelosi Kept The Democrats United But It Was The House Republicans Who Killed TrumpCare


Ryan, Pence, McCarthy and Price-- with Trumpy-the-Clown in tow-- failed to pass TrumpCare 3.0 or, put another way perhaps more salient for their base, failed to repeal Obamacare for the 3rd time in as many weeks, not just failed to repeal it-- their #1 campaign promise for how many years?-- but failed to even call a vote. That's because the bill is so horrible that, except for Republicans representing the most backward, ignorant districts where everyone is strung out on prescription drugs and incapable of thought, Republicans in normal parts of the country know voting for it is a political death sentence. Yesterday we looked at the Republicans who killed it by stepping forward and publicly defying Ryan and Trump. But there were far more Republicans-- cagey Republicans-- who refused to say. Trump is less likely to attack them-- and so are their Democratic opponents. Trump can't say they betrayed the GOP and the Democrats can't say their betrayed their constituents.

One, Texan Brian Babin, even quit the Freedom Caucus over it. Babin represents one of the worst hellholes in America, a stretch of polluted devastation between Louisiana and the Houston Ship Channel/San Jacinto River. It's where the KKK chained James Byrd, Jr. to a truck and dragged him to his death. Is every single person in the district like that? Not every single one of them but Trump beat Clinton there, 72.0-25.2%. Remember Steve Stockman-- the guy whose corruption trial just got postponed? He was the congresscritter before Babin. The two of them are EXACTLY what this hell-on-earth district wants. Babin was a YES on TrumpCare 1.0. Maybe someone mentioned that 20,645 of his constituents, would be kicked off health insurance if it passed because this time he said he was unsure of he could vote for it or not. That's a district with an R+25 PVI. One of the 9 counties, Hardin, has a per capita income of $17,962 and only 16% of the folks there voted for Obama. 12% voted for Hillary. If the Republicans can't get a YES out of the congressnut representing a district like that, you can forget TrumpCare.

But most of the congressional Republicans afraid to say whether they were voting for it or against it aren't districts like Babin's. They're in more swingy districts where a vote to take away health care from thousands of people and a vote to eliminate the mandate for covering people with pre-existing conditions could be career suicide for congresscritters like John Culberson (TX), David Valadao (CA), Rod Blum (IA), Paul Cook (CA), Ed Royce (CA), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Brian Mast (FL), Duncan Hunter (CA), Pete King (NY), Steve Knight (CA), John Faso (NY), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Will Hurd (TX), Fred Upton (MI), Elise Stefanik (NY), David Joyce (OH), Steve Pearce (NM), Bruce Poliquin (ME), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Kevin Yoder (KS), Mike McCaul (TX), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Bill Posey (FL) and the wily coyote himself, Darrell Issa (CA).

In a story updated for Politico yesterday, Jennifer Haberkorn chalks up the GOP loss this round to concerns from mainstream conservatives over preexisting conditions. "Some Republicans," she wrote, "just don’t want to talk about it. Rep. Darrell Issa of California paused to hear a reporter’s question on his vote, then kept walking." Except for the hard-right extremists in the GOP conference-- somewhat over half the members-- everyone else was arguing TrumpCare 3.0 would hurt people with pre-existing conditions. They're arguing that "the latest changes only moved the bill to the right and could put more Americans at risk of losing their health insurance."

“My concern has always been and what a lot of us talked about: people with pre-existing conditions, the elderly,” said Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL). “How this makes the original bill better? Where is the part that is better for the folks I’m concerned about it? I’m not seeing it at this stage.”

Protections for people with pre-existing conditions have only been in effect for seven years, but proven to be one of the most popular and well-known features of the Affordable Care Act. Moderate Republicans are worried about stripping the safeguards without a reliable replacement. If the resistance from moderates holds, it would be enough to block Obamacare repeal in the House-- or send the effort back to square one. And other than cowardly Rodney ther than Frelinghuysen IV, there are no so-called "moderates" who have publicly flipped to support the bill.

Byron York had a piece in the far right Washington Examiner yesterday worth reading. He asked the obvious question: "Why can't House repeal Obamacare?" And answered it: "Because a lot of Republicans don't want to." He reminded his readers that "Republicans have 238 seats in the House. Repealing Obamacare will require 217 votes. Even with unanimous Democratic opposition, Republicans could lose 21 votes and still prevail on repeal. Why haven't they done it?... The Republican-controlled House and Senate both voted to repeal Obamacare in January 2016. In the House, 239 Republicans voted for repeal, while three voted against it and four did not vote. President Obama, of course, vetoed the bill." Now, that it's not a game and it would become law, they can't even get to 217, maybe not even to 200.
By this time, it's becoming increasingly clear that Republicans have not repealed Obamacare because a lot of Republicans do not want to repeal Obamacare.

They don't even want to sorta repeal Obamacare. The bill currently on the table, like the bill pulled in March, falls far short of a full repeal of Obamacare. And yet Republicans still cannot agree on it.

About a week after the first Obamacare repeal failure, a House Republican, speaking privately, said the difficulty in passing the bill was not a parliamentary problem involving the complexities of the Senate and reconciliation. No, the lawmaker said, "It is a problem that we have members in the Republican conference that do not want Obamacare repealed, because of their district. That's the fundamental thing that we're seeing here."

"I thought we campaigned on repealing it," the lawmaker continued. "Now that it's our turn, I'm finding there's about 50 people who really don't want to repeal Obamacare. They want to keep it."

Other conservatives are saying similar things. In an email exchange Thursday afternoon, I asked one member where the latest bill stood. "We absolutely do not have the votes to repeal it," he answered. "The fact that some members are balking at even allowing states to waive out of some of Obamacare regulations is proof positive. We've gone from 'repeal it root-and-branch' to 'Mother-may-I opt out of some of Obamacare'-- and we still are having trouble getting the votes."

In a phone conversation Thursday afternoon, another Republican, Rep. Steve King, quibbled a bit with the number of House Republicans who don't want to repeal Obamacare-- he would put it in the 40s-- but felt certain there are lots of Republicans who don't want to repeal. "If you don't want to get rid of federal mandates to health insurance, then it's pretty clear you don't want to get rid of Obamacare," King said.

"Whatever we come out with, it will say to the American people that a full repeal of Obamacare is no longer in the cards," King added.

Yet another Republican member, in an email exchange, estimated that there are 25 to 30 House Republicans "who don't want to be forced to make the repeal vote." Even that lower number would be enough to sink a repeal measure.

Other GOP lawmakers are openly conceding that whatever the House does-- if it does anything-- it won't actually repeal Obamacare. Large parts of Barack Obama's legacy legislation will remain standing, a fact that more Republicans are admitting as time goes by.

"It's not full repeal. I will be honest, it's not," Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News on Wednesday. "But it's as good as we think we can get right now."

"We've given up on trying to get this bill repealed, basically," Rep. Louie Gohmert told Fox Business on Tuesday. "But we've been demanding at least let's repeal some of the provisions that we know will bring down rates."

..."A pure repeal would get less than 200 votes," said the second member quoted above. "It really is one of the biggest political shams in history-- many of these members would not have been elected without promising repeal, and now they are wilting. Some are even complaining that [the Rep. Tom MacArthur amendment] pushes the bill too far right-- even though is it far short of a full repeal."

When repeal first failed last month, a number of commentators blamed the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In the days since, caucus members have made the case, convincingly, that they have shown an enormous amount of flexibility in trying to reach agreement with the Tuesday Group, made up of House GOP centrists.

Now, the centrists-- a number of Republicans refer to them as "the mods," for moderates-- appear to be moving the goalposts, even as the conservatives offer concessions. Conservatives suspect the centrists were perfectly happy for conservatives to take the blame for killing the first bill, but now are showing their true colors by rejecting compromise on the second version. Whatever the circumstances, they don't want to vote to repeal Obamacare.

The reason is fear. When the lawmaker said colleagues don't want repeal "because of their district," that was another way of saying the members are all representatives, and the voters they represent don't want repeal. From The Hill on Thursday afternoon: "Many vulnerable Republicans are running scared. One moderate Republican was overheard in a House cafeteria this week telling an aide: 'If I vote for this healthcare bill, it will be the end of my career.'"

Whichever faction inside the Republican Party is to blame, it could well be that the conservatives' numbers are basically right: There are a lot of Republicans, say 40 to 50, who don't want to repeal Obamacare. Given unanimous Democratic opposition, that means that there are somewhere around 190, or maybe 195, House members who actually want to repeal Obamacare. That will never get the job done.
So now the GOP will blame their own "mods," many in targeted swing districts, for the collapse of the repeal? How smart is that when they are the most electorally vulnerable members and without them, the Republican Party goes back to being a minority party?

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At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to offer an alternative reason why the GOP is again failing to kill Obamacare.

Dentists have for a few years now been going bankrupt in record numbers, primarily because people can't afford their services without insurance coverage. Under ANY Republican plan floated since ACA passed, medical doctors would find themselves in the same straits. Dentists aren't a big enough group for politicians to notice their pain, but without the medical doctors, the drug companies have no one to push their over-priced poisons on the people.

It's long been a factoid that doctors are usually Republicans, yet I've seen recent reports indicating that doctors are discovering their long-rumored liberal sides now that their income - even WITH medical insurance coverage of their patients- is beginning to drop. They can see the writing on the wall, and seek to change things before they end up like their DDS colleagues. But even with the AMA on their side, the doctors are hardly heeded.

It would take the drug companies -watching large swaths of their customer base switching to street drugs because they have lost their medical coverage- to actually reach Republican Congresscritters and make them aware that the sponsors aren't happy. Lobbyist money IS the only thing too much of the Congress ever hears, and right now, it is shouting "No Ending ACA".

Not even Trump can overcome that bombast.

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Docs started leaving practice for the same reason stated above as soon as insurance started denying coverages and reducing reimbursements, what they euphemistically called "managed care" after $hillbillary failed to get obamneycare (then called, derisively, hillarycare) to pass either sect in the '90s. I personally lost 2 family physicians that way. The collusion by insurance to ream providers caused providers to associate to gain a little more leverage with insurance.

You have to appreciate the problem the Nazis have here. They really need to kill a lot of people who are too expensive to allow to live. The elderly, sick (pre-ex. conditions), poor and kids all use a lot of health CARE. And every usage means less profit for Aetna and United Health CEOs. Believe me, profit is the ONLY thing these sociopaths care about... therefore it's all their bought proxies in DC want.

But they can't just summarily kill them all by deprivation because, well, even americans, as gawdawful stupid as we are, know when we are being killed... even slowly. It's a conundrum for the Nazis because AARP and others still vote.

What they need is a war and martial law or something. Then they can kill everyone they want to and nobody can do dick about it.


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