Republican ObamaCare Repeal and Replace Lacks Votes to Pass, But the Future is Still Uncertain
The Republican-led effort to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) failed after a string of conservative senators refused to support it. TIP: McConnell did not have the votes, there was no vote held. See: the full text of the Revised Senate Health Care Bill 7/13/17.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said in response on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning (after determining Republicans didn’t have the vote Monday night):
“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful… That doesn’t mean we should give up. We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare. I think we owe them at least that much.”
This temporary setback led Donald Trump to comment as well. He made two statements-in-tweets:
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”…and, then hours later…
…”As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”
Meanwhile, Pence essentially suggested that a full repeal should be on the table.
Putting aside the conflicting message of the Trump Tweets and the ambiguous messages of McConnell and Pence, the result is clear.
The latest round of repeal and replace attempts aren’t going to become law.
That means it is either 1. back to the drawing board (a board which could include an attempt at full repeal; although it is doubtful that would get the votes), or, 2. the repeal and replace plan is going on the back burner for now and we should expect minor changes shortly.
Consider, this is simply the latest unsuccessful attempt to get the GOP to rally around a health care fix. Thus, it shouldn’t be cause for too much celebration, speculation, or disappointment (depending on your tastes).
The last time the GOP didn’t have the votes in the House or Senate we saw a revision within weeks and another attempt (despite similar language from both Congress and the President).
Given the above, the best thing to do at this point is:
- Remind yourself of what is in the bill, officially called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (AKA TrumpCare as it stood July 13th, 2017). The chances that none of this comes back in another bill down the road is about ZERO.
- Remind yourself of what Trump promised. Now seems like a good time to push for those platform planks and promises (as almost none made it into the Better Care Act).
- Remind yourself of the ongoing tug of war over healthcare, including ObamaCare’s very real sticking points AND the Republican plan to break ObamaCare (which is a way to describe the tactic where they obstruct until people hate it enough to demand repeal).
- And remind yourself of the healthcare crisis and the push for universal healthcare (1332 waivers and Medicaid expansion waivers are still on the table for now; better act quickly before a repeal passes!).
Most of all, we should remember the following:
Healthcare is 1/6th of our economy, it is going to cost, it is hard to cover everybody, there will be trade-offs, and we can’t ignore the elephant or the donkey in the room.
There is no ignoring healthcare (costs or coverage; to the individual, business, or state), that means someone will have to do something.
Fingers crossed that something is “work together to get a good plan going” and not “wait for the ACA to fail with a little push from the GOP to help it along.”
A collapse of the U.S. healthcare market could spell a worldwide economic collapse… but of course, that speaks to why we need to reform and get things under control.