Jul 10 2017

Access To Health Insurance!

Neither Obamacare nor Trumpcare have anything at all to do with Health, or Care, or Healthcare. We are instead arguing about the amount of profit we are transferring from a citizen’s pocket to the gaping maw of a faceless conglomerate Health Insurance Company and how we do it, with Democrats advocating compulsory payments with some quality regulation and Republicans favoring voluntary remittances for a pile of crap masquerading as magic beans. The only real solution to shoveling more money into this black hole is “single payer” which cuts out the corporate extortion and has worked in every other country, the U.S. being exceptional in it’s gullibility.

Back for another tilt at the big brass ring because they’re convinced Voters are dumber than a Rube on the Midway are Mitch McConnell and the Republicans who, according to him, just can’t wait for another try at ring toss despite the Bill Killing Troika of Collins, Murkowski, and Capito being firmly against and even more against the Teabagger “compromises” that have been floated to assuage the Lee, Rand, and Cruz sadists who deem the current proposal insufficiently cruel.

Senate GOP aims to release new health bill by week’s end
By Burgess Everett, Jennifer Haberkorn and Josh Dawsey, Politico
07/10/2017 01:32 PM EDT

Senate Republicans are hoping to unveil a revamped draft of their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare by the end of this week, though there are major questions about how it will address roiling GOP disagreement over a proposal touted by conservative senators.

New bill text could be unveiled to senators as soon as Thursday, according to sources familiar with the proposal. A Congressional Budget Office score is likely to follow as soon as next Monday; a vote could come by the end of next week.

Though Republicans are aiming to have a new CBO report of their latest proposal by early next week, it may not include an analysis of an amendment penned by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas that would allow the sale of cheap insurance plans outside Obamacare’s regulatory structure.

Republicans need “divine intervention” to get the negotiations back on track, said a Republican aide. Another aide said the negotiations aren’t expected to move significantly until the new CBO scores are released. The score on the Cruz amendment, if CBO can finish it, could show premiums spiking high enough to kill the proposal. The amendment does not currently have the support to pass the Senate.

“They’ll give Cruz every opportunity to sell his solution this week. He’s going to be the one making the sell this week. The question is whether the Cruz-Lee amendment costs you votes. The votes are clearly not there right now,” said a person familiar with the negotiations.

GOP critics like Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia have worried that Cruz’s amendment would make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get covered — arguments being amplified by Democrats. Opposition from those senators alone would tank the amendment.

How Trumpcare Dies
By Brian Beutler, New Republic
July 10, 2017

Republicans have deployed a key tool: outright lying. In an encounter with constituents last week, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said, “There is no attempt to do away with the pre-existing condition issue [in place under Obamacare]. There is an attempt right now to build up the subsidy level so that people who are lower income can actually purchase health care.”

Contrast these comments with what Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa told his constituents around the same time: that an amendment proposed by Senator Ted Cruz meant to consolidate conservative support for Trumpcare is “subterfuge” that has the effect of “annihilating the pre-existing condition requirement.”

Being less honest about health care than Grassley, who once vouchsafed the “death panel” lie, is quite an accomplishment. But Grassley is right about this one, and Corker is not telling the truth.

Lying about the Cruz amendment helps the bill survive, but so too does the trading of other favors.

A key question at the moment is whether senators will accept ancillary goodies (like a few billion dollars in funding to fight the opioid crisis) as concessions for their votes on a bill that will throw millions of people off of their health insurance and gut protections for the infirm.

But the lying isn’t limited to individual senators discussing individual measures. It is the GOP’s fundamental method of persuasion for the entire bill.

There is one neutral, in-house scorekeeper, run at the moment by a Republican economist, who was hand-picked by Trump’s own health and human services secretary, and it found that Trumpcare will leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured relative to current law. The gainsaying of CBO’s findings with dressed-up right-wing propaganda is, like the Cruz amendment deceptions, an attempt to lie Trumpcare into law. To the extent that 50 Republican senators play up the false view that Trumpcare won’t leave millions of uninsured, citing bogus think tank “studies,” or hyping opioid slush fund dollars, or pretending their bill won’t gut pre-existing conditions protections, it is a sign that movement toward passage of the bill continues.

The good news is these last-ditch efforts to muscle the GOP health care bill into law are beginning to flag and work against each other. The same Post story notes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will task Cruz himself with pitching his amendment to the rest of the GOP conference. It will be up to Cruz in some sense, then, to stop Republicans from breaking ranks. The Post notes that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins have been in contact with Democrats “to see whether they might be more willing partners in fixing the health-care system.”

The importance of these developments can’t be overstated. Cruz is one of the most hated members of the Senate, even within the GOP conference. “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate,” Republican Lindsey Graham once said, “and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” Cruz is the worst possible salesman for any piece of legislation, let alone a hideously unpopular one that will gut pre-existing conditions protections. If the linchpin of the Trumpcare blitz is the persuasive powers of Cruz, Obamacare supporters have something to celebrate.

Because if the Cruz amendment fails, and bipartisan backchannels expand, the process will freeze up. The hope is that a combination of Cruz’s toxicity, public pressure, and Democratic outreach will draw at least one more Republican into league with Collins and Murkowski. On Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said the plan he drafted with Collins earlier this year—one that would leave the ACA’s taxes and coverage goals in place—“is the only way we can go forward.” On that basis, he could be the third apostate, but any Republican would do.

If at least three Republicans disappear into negotiations with Democrats over an Obamacare stabilization bill, ACA supporters will have succeeded in grinding the legislative machinery to a halt, and Trumpcare will be stuck in the cogs indefinitely. But to assume that such an outcome is inevitable is to underestimate the Republicans’ dedication to gutting Obamacare—or at least being able to claim that they did.

Why any Republican is willing to put their political life on the line for a Bill that has only 12% approval is beyond me. Unless he has a victory in his pocket Mitch McConnell is likely to spare his most vulnerable colleagues a defining and risky vote where Paul Ryan didn’t (which, should Republicans remain in the Majority after 2018, his caucus should repay in kind by ousting him from his Speakership).

Unless submitted for a vote before July 29th is the deadline before the annual August shut down during which Congress does the the least harm by doing nothing at all.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Vent Hole

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