It’s much harder to get votes to do something when the votes actually matter. After scheduling a vote on Obamacare for today, GOP lawmakers now say ObamaCare Repeal Vote May Be Delayed.
The House may delay its vote on the GOP’s ObamaCare replacement plan until Friday or next week, several lawmakers said.
“It didn’t look like today was going to be when we’re going to vote,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) after leaving a meeting with committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the House floor schedule.
The vote on the healthcare bill was originally planned for Thursday, the seven-year anniversary of the day ObamaCare was signed into law.
As of 1:30 p.m., GOP leaders had not made a final decision about whether to delay the vote until Friday or next week.
They were still assessing negotiations that took place Thursday between President Trump and the far-right House Freedom Caucus at the White House. After the meeting, members of the caucus said they had not reached a deal with President Trump to win their support.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he still expects the bill to come up for a vote Thursday.
“That would obviously be up to Speaker [Paul] Ryan and [House Majority] Leader [Kevin] McCarthy, but nothing leads me to believe that’s the case,” Spicer said when asked if the vote would be pushed back.
Vote is Moot
The vote is moot because Trump’s Obamacare Repeal Concessions Likely Can’t Pass Senate.
President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are considering throwing red meat at the right to push their Obamacare repeal bill through the House. But senators from both parties are signaling those conservative goodies will have a hard time surviving the Senate.
Democrats say they are certain they can kill any language in the repeal bill that erases Obamacare’s mandate for minimum benefits in insurance plans. And top Republicans are making no promise that the last-ditch changes to win over conservatives will fly in the more centrist Senate, which is beginning to write its own health care plan that’s likely to look far different from what the House is set to vote on Thursday night.
Parliamentary rules could be the bigger problem. The budget reconciliation procedure being used by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has strict rules that could kill language added by the House that does not have a direct budgetary effect. And that could ruin an attempt to pass a repeal on a simple majority, party-line vote.
Republicans would also face a problem if there are so many Byrd violations that the parliamentarian rules that the whole bill is invalid.
In an interview, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said the House is now indiscriminately rewriting its legislation with no regard for what can become law. Democrats are confident they can win the parliamentary battle on several key provisions in the repeal process.
“I’m pretty sure it will come out,” Murray said of the latest possible changes to the bill. “They are selling not only the wrong policy, but they are selling the House Republicans something that isn’t ever going to see the light of day.”
It’s a process that cannot start in earnest until the House passes its repeal bill and the legislation is before the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans will haggle with parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough over what is acceptable under reconciliation — a critical “Byrd bath” process that will determine whether portions of the health care proposal will need 60 votes to survive.
Republicans are working on ensuring the bill fits parliamentary rules, including potentially replacing the House bill with an entirely new substitute if needed.
“There’s only so much they can get through over there. And we’ll have to see what we can do,” said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “It has to be acceptable to the rules. We cannot afford to [mess up] reconciliation.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who navigated the reconciliation process when Obamacare was originally passed, said he is confident that even if the bill gets through the House, many pieces would get struck in the Senate for violating the rules.
“Many of the promises Republican leadership is making to hard-liners to try to get them to vote for this bill are empty promises. They’re empty in the sense that under reconciliation, much of what they’re promising … [will be] objected to and be struck from the bill,” Hoyer said.
Search for 216 Votes
Yesterday, in Search for 216 Votes: Obamacare Replacement Act Headed for Flames, Perhaps Overwhelmingly, I made this assessment: “Off the top of my head, I suggest odds of passage tomorrow are well under 5%. The odds the vote is scrapped are about even.”
Readers saw things this way.
Freedom Caucus Gets “Final Offer” From Trump
CNBC reports Freedom Caucus says ‘not enough votes’ after getting White House ‘final offer’ on Obamacare replacement.
The White House gave the House Freedom Caucus a final offer as it tries to win support for a bill to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare, but the conservative group’s leader said no deal was reached by Thursday afternoon.
The lack of an agreement throws more doubt on a planned Thursday night vote on the crucial legislation. The conservative contingent has threatened the bill’s passage, as its members have said the GOP plan does not go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
President Donald Trump met with the caucus earlier as he and House GOP leaders aimed to rally enough support for their proposal. Following the meeting, though, Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters “there are not enough votes” to push the legislation through.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s weekly news conference — which was set for 3:30 p.m. ET — was delayed until further notice.
Another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Justin Amash, said Thursday that nothing new came out of the meeting with Trump, according to Reuters. The vote will fail if held Thursday night, he added.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday he still expects the vote to take place later in the day. He added that “we have been very responsive” to concerns expressed by lawmakers.
“It’s going to pass. So that’s it,” Spicer told reporters when asked what would happen if the bill did not pass.
Here’s a humorous anecdote courtesy of ZeroHedge.
There still could be a vote today, but the sweeteners won’t make in in the Senate, even if it does pass the House.
As for Trump’s “final offer”, there is never a final offer until a deal is reached or the idea scrapped. Will Trump give up on replacing Obamacare?
If not, another offer will soon be in the works.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Vote now postponed until Monday. Losers!
The Health Care Albatross
By Rich Lowry
March 22, 2017
Republicans should get used to it. Their agony on health care is just beginning.
For the past seven years, the party benefited from its powerlessness, which usefully maximized its ability to criticize Obamacare and minimized its responsibility to do anything about it. Now, with unified control of government, the party will pay the piper.
Nothing good will come of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace debate. If anything resembling the current bill passes and is signed into law, Republicans will spend years trying to fix it and live it down. If the bill fails, the rest of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda may sink with it.
The party faces this choice between Scylla and Charybdis because the House leadership couldn’t produce a sound repeal-and-replacement bill that it thought would pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian. Instead, it unveiled a compromise of a compromise, jury-rigged to pass the Senate under the so-called reconciliation rules bypassing the filibuster.
The reflex of the Republican leadership is understandably to pass their awkward bill quickly — very quickly — and move on. But there won’t be any moving on. The lesson of Obamacare is that passage of a major health care law never puts health care behind you, only in front of you. For Republicans, their replacement bill will — one way or the other, pass or fail — loom large in 2018 and presumably 2020, if not beyond.
john clark said:
Rs have majority of house and senate but not necessarily control. Obamacare lite won’t happen until after 2018 and then only if they increase their house majority, the odds of that happening are less than this bill passing now.
Rs are in a bad spot with their healthcare overhaul now, but they’ll be in a worse position if this monstrosity of a bill passes. They hitched their wagon to killing Obamacare but they never thought thru the next step of a politically acceptable replacement.
The flaws of Obamacare will become more manifest as the years go by but there will be no bipartisan effort to improve it, it will be replaced by single payer national healthcare after 2020 election when Dems run the table and control WH and congress.
They are trying to kill the Medicaid expansion and absolutely need too. Set up a county hospital system that takes care of these people and no more free healthcare with the doctor of their choice. They need to address prices and force both hospitals and doctors to list their prices before you even walk through the door. This massive monopoly of charging different people different prices needs to stop. They illegally discriminate based on who you are, if you have insurance, etc. Anything less then this is garbage and shouldn’t pass.
They also need to have a segment on lifestyle for people that are drug addicts, boozers, diabetes that can’t put down the pizza, etc. If you want to kill yourself by risky behavior, then why should the taxpayers subsidize that lifestyle.
Alan L. said:
That solution would actually work, but we both know it will never be implemented, as the resulting depression would bring out the pitchforks and torches. I doubt the aforementioned monopolists even have to engage in much bribery … er … lobbying in order to convince the politicians that such reform is not in their interest.
Trader Joe said:
Trump is playing 4 dimensional chess…and Ryan is playing with himself. Trump letting Ryan out there to fall flat on his face (payback for flip flopping on his support of The Trumpster during the election) — if you go back and listen to or read Trump’s campaign info, he wants a much broader coverage platform…lower costs…and all sorts of other good stuff. The plan as proposed isn’t even close. Next!
We used to have that in the 1950s.
Doctor of their choice!?!? Medicaid is already a bare bones program. Reimbursement rates are so low that few doctors will accept it. In many, maybe most, states, Medicaid recipients have to be on an HMO. Most people go to hospital clinics and community health centers for primary care. All specialists, if you can find one, require a referral. Know what you’re talking about before spouting off.
Stuki Moi said:
There is an active policy in place of attempting to make as many potentially “unruly” young men drug addicts as possible. That way, a potentially troublesome and uppity cohort, is instead reduced to cheering for Massa Gommiment, in return for nothing more than free Oxy and porn. Opoids are the Opium of the people, after all.
Republicans won’t vote for bill that would potentially destroy the healthcare market (by reducing the incentive for people to buy insurance but mandating sick people coverage) and would throw millions of their voters off insurance.
I wonder why.
Medex Man said:
Another person who can’t grasp the simple difference between health insurance and health care…
Medex Man said:
This is a terrible bill and Trump made a mistake going to bat for an idiot like Paul Ryan.
Trump should have said he is still waiting for Congress to send him the simple obamacare repeal bill — the same one that passed both house and senate last fall.
Who cares if Trump passes tax reform that saves a middle class family $1000, if obama/ryancare premium increases take $3000? The average family is $2000 in the hole. Hardly a win, and its simple math that every potential voter in 2018 is going to do.
Let Paul Ryan sink along with this moronic bill. It doesn’t address health costs at all, meaning the whole exercise is stupid.
Which would the average family want to have? A $1000 tax break, or a $4000 health premium break? So simple even a Congressman can get it.
“This is a terrible bill and Trump made a mistake going to bat for an idiot like Paul Ryan.”
They can’t pass a bill with the needed RADICAL changes because even the minor concessions supposedly in the compromise supposedly wouldn’t pass the Senate. So they say they want to pass this one and make more and gradual changes later.
If you believe that would actually happen, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
SNAFU. The only significant change and swamp draining can come from RADICAL moves by Trump like simply vetoing bills to bring the fedgov and the taxpayer funded gravy train to a complete halt. But, of course, that will never happen so SNAFU to infinity. It will remain that way until our effective national bankruptcy simply can’t be hidden by money printing and massive amounts of additional debt as it is being hidden now.
“Change You Can Believe In” v2.0. Glad I didn’t get my hopes up.
Alan L. said:
Yes, and to put the point on it, they won’t make radical changes because radical changes mean that large, influential blocks of society will lose power and prestige. Who, having power, will willingly choose to lose it? Beyond that, there’s the fact that implementing needed changes will have catastrophic effects on the economy in the short-term.
To be more explicit, health care is now some 16%+ of GDP. In other developed countries it is typically closer to 8%, and many of them have lower per capita GDP, too. Fixing health care would take an amount of money equal to 8% of GDP (over a trillion dollars!) annually out of the pockets of the medical industry. It would mean that a massive number of people who have built their cost structures around 9% annual price increases would suddenly find themselves upside down on student loans, business loans, payroll, etc. Economic depression, not just recession, is a necessary result if any real changes happen quickly.
To sum it up, as groups, neither doctors, nor pharmaceuticals, nor hospitals, nor insurance companies would ever willingly choose the pain involved in fixing the medical industry in the US. And the risk of collateral damage across the economy means that most others with some interest in the status quo won’t choose that pain either.
As a society, we are sitting on a local optimum whose optimality is fast diminishing. Still, no one is going to cross the valley of local suboptimality to get to a better arrangement, at least not until the advantages of the current system have subsided sufficiently.
And so we wait for collapse, which must come, since the fraction of federal expenses going to medicine is already over a third of expenditures and rising every year. And then they will tell us that no one saw it coming. And most will believe them.
“Beyond that, there’s the fact that implementing needed changes will have catastrophic effects on the economy in the short-term.”
Yup, pols are never willing to “take the medicine” required to truly fix anything and will always choose to “extend and pretend” until “the chickens come home to roost” because too much of the general public is “dumber than a box of rocks” and will buy into the opposition party’s propaganda that the party choosing to actually fix things which require pain to fix is just “a bunch of Nazis” and that the leader of the party is “like, literally Hitler” even if that party and its leader simply claim to want to fix the corrupt status quo.
I had a history prof in college who had as a young army troop defected to the west due to an easy opportunity to do so who said that the only way to fix the US’s problems is via a benevolent dictator. I volunteer for that job. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works…
Medex Man said:
NYC Mayor DeBlasio already bought the bridge in Brooklyn, which is why so many new yorkers are fleeing his liberal “paradise”.
Paul Ryan lost again (not to be confused when he lost his run for president or when he lost in his attempts to push Trump out of Republican primaries last year).
Obamacare will still implode because of costs. And people from California will continue to prove they can’t do even simple math (and they still won’t pay their bills)
Maxine Waters will confuse Korea with Crimea, again. While Hank Johnson will worry that Guam might capsize if too many military personnel get stationed there. McCain knows where all three are located, and wants to go to war with all of them.
I don’t think the establishment in either party is much of a threat in the brains department
Nothing should be done. Best thing to do is keep this crew away, as much as possible, from changing anything until we have another round of elections.
Alan L. said:
And how will another round of elections remove the deep divisions in our society about which direction is the correct direction to move in?
There’s no division here. No one wants this law to pass except those who have their careers riding on Trump’s Presidency being a success.
Alan L. said:
I think it’s true that most people don’t want this law to pass. But you seem to assume that there is a law which most people do want to pass, and I can’t see it.
I think almost half the population believes that “healthcare is a right”, and almost as many on the other side believe government involvement in healthcare is a sin. That’s a pretty fundamental division, and people on one side of the debate think people on the other side of the debate are evil.
BillyBob Texas said:
Why doesn’t he just use his PEN and his PHONE !!!!! Hell, just write up whatever laws you want – and tell your people to ignore all the laws you don’t !!!
Certainly, precedence has been set by the last P.O.S. who sat there …..
Jon Sellers said:
Republicans need to just repeal Obamacare and not attempt to replace it. There is no replacement that will be any better than Obamacare that can possibly make it through Congress.
Do it quickly and publicly and then immediately move on to a different subject so that the media doesn’t have time to stew on it. In 2 years talk some more about Mexican rapists and radical islamic terrorism. You’ll still get the vote of the base.
Passing Trumpcare will murder Republicans in 2 years.
Tony Bennett said:
Lowry is spot-on. This bill will be a disaster for years to come for the Republicans.
The only thing voters (at least the conservative ones) will care about is what happens to their health insurance premiums. NOTHING done to address costs. Voters will take it out on republicans in elections to come (only partially correct, but voters have intertwined recent health cost increases with ACA) as a repeal and replace that does nothing to check premium increases will be labeled FAIL.
Repealing Obamacare will literally sign a death warrant for [murder?] a lot of poor Republican voters who need healthcare for their black lung disease, opioid addiction, mental health issues, etc.
So go ahead and repeal the ACA. [shrug]
Stuki Moi said:
You mean all the GOP voters who weren’t around yet to die before Obamacare saved them? Had no idea the average GOP voter were that young.
I’ll give you that Obamacare has been extremely successful, if measured solely by it’s success at converting potential unruly junta opponents into pliable, dependent opioid addicts. Probably it’s main goal to begin with, alongside that of providing a vain President with a marquee bill without him having to read it.
Also, the US health care “system” was effed up before Obamacare. It wasn’t as if Obama came in and ruined some paradise. It was effed up then, and it’s even more effed up now. Meaning the solution is to repeal Obamacare. The repeal that which was before Obamacare. And the that which was before that. All the way down. Until you arrive at a health care system that actually worked. Call it Jeffersoncare.
Gerald Myers said:
The Republican Party has had 7 years to draft a better plan. It appears they have spent the last three weeks coming up with the classic horse designed by a committee: a mutant camel that is dead at birth.
Tony Bennett said:
Well, that about sums it up.
Mumu Bobby said:
Only thing to add – this is ALL on Ryan and McConnell. What have they been doing these many months and years? When this bill fails Trump needs to come out for replacing the two.
Smartest Strategy: Just let ObamaCare implode, blame the democrats THEN reconstruct. At that point it will be easy to get the buy-in from Congress. Even the dems would vote for it. And you’d look like heroes.
Instead the stupid republicans will force a pathetic alternative through – own it – and when it goes down in flames they’ll go down with it.
All I know is that the alternative Trump was 100% behind was not the same health care alternative to ObamaCare that he promised us.
This has turned me a little skeptical on Trump. And I was a big supporter. Seems like he is slowly falling into the fold.
As a nation we pay the MOST (per capita) for our health care than any other nation on earth. It follows that we should have the BEST quality of medical care. But we don’t We pale in comparison to nearly all the other industrialized nations.
Not surprised that Ryan didn’t have the votes. But they’ll bribe enough of the Freedom Caucus members to eventually kick a turd across the finish line.
Wait and see.
Trader Joe said:
SINGLE PAYER BITCHEZ!
Mumu Bobby said:
And it’s no longer ‘if’, it’s ‘when’.
Yup. Every single adult will pay for their own health care.
Let us see. Medicaid, Medicare, VA, Tricare and ACA all don’t work right now and you want to go to sngle payer. You will need a tax that will generate over $1 trillion a year. The system will be overrun with fraud and abuse.
Take 2 aspirins and call me in the morning.
Trump is going to blame congress for not fixing obamacare. You have to give democrats credit, they are dumb as rocks for voting for obamacare without even reading it but loyally fell in line and voted for it because their democrat president told them to. Democrats run America, republicans only know how to be the opposition party. They sure don’t know how to be in charge.