Obamacare replacement looks all but dead in the Senate.

If by some magic it passes the Senate, it will still have to meet House approval.

On top of it all, there are budget reconciliation procedures that have to be met.  Let’s investigate the key hurdles.

Ron Johnson, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, blasted Obamacare in a New York Times Op-Ed Where the Senate Health Care Bill Fails

The primary goals of any health care reform should be to restrain (if not lower) costs while improving quality, access and innovation. This is exactly what consumer-driven, free-market competition does in other areas of our economy. Look no further than how laser eye surgery went from exotic to affordable during the years it was not covered by most insurance.

Washington believes that the solution to every problem is more money. But throwing more money at insurers won’t fix the lack of consumer-driven competition, combined with government mandates that artificially drive up the cost of care and insurance.

Obamacare imposes enormous taxes and plans to spend nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years to decrease the number of uninsured, mostly through Medicaid but also through taxpayer-subsidized exchanges. In doing so, Obamacare has largely destroyed an already struggling individual health insurance marketplace. It does this by mandating high-cost provisions as standard for every insurance policy, then forcing a small percentage of the population to shoulder the cost.

Senate Adds Penalty

Please consider Senate adds penalty for going uninsured to healthcare bill.

Senate Republicans on Monday released a revised version of their healthcare reform bill that adds a provision requiring consumers with a break in coverage to wait six months before buying insurance.

The Senate bill would make those who had a lapse in coverage for 63 days or more wait six months before obtaining insurance. Read the bill here.

The addition of the six-month waiting period could make it more difficult to pass the legislation if the Senate parliamentarian rules the provision violates the complex budget reconciliation rules. Republican leadership was working over the weekend to make sure the provision complies with the rules and can be included.

It’s unclear whether Senate Republicans will have the votes to pass the bill, with at least five Senate Republicans on record as opposing the bill in its current form.
On Monday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) doubled down that a vote will be this week.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said it will issue its analysis of the bill on Monday afternoon. A Senate aide told The Hill the CBO report will include the six-month lockout provision.

The continuous coverage provision is intended to prevent a “death spiral” in insurance markets.

22 Million More Without Insurance

The Hill reports New CBO analysis imperils GOP ObamaCare repeal.

Several Senate Republicans said Monday that they would not back a procedural motion on legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare after a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found the bill would leave 22 million more people without insurance over the next decade.

The findings cast serious doubt on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) ability to get the measure through his chamber this week. McConnell can only afford to lose two votes, and four senators as of Monday night said they would not vote for a motion to proceed to the bill.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote on Twitter after the release of the CBO report that she would vote no on the motion to advance the bill.

“CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened,” she wrote.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) also indicated they would vote against the motion without changes. The three senators, along with Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), had previously announced they opposed the measure as drafted.

Even before Collins made her feelings known, the CBO analysis was raising alarm bells for centrist Republicans.

“It certainly makes me more concerned,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said of the analysis on CNN. “It makes me want to explore this more.”

A staff member from a GOP moderate’s office expressed frustration that the Senate bill doesn’t do substantially more than the House version to lower costs for low-income people.

“The president said the Senate bill should be more generous, and this goes in the opposite direction,” the source said.

Murkowski Uncertain

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says I don’t have enough information to vote in favor of healthcare bill.

“Today I don’t have enough information, I don’t have enough data, in terms of the impact to my state, to be able to vote in the affirmative,” Murkowski, considered a key swing vote on the bill, told CNN’s Dana Bash.

Murkowski’s comments came hours after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its nonpartisan analysis of the bill, which it projected would cause 22 million people to become uninsured over the course of 10 years.


  • Rand Paul (Kentucky)
  • Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
  • Susan Collins (Maine)
  • Dean Heller (Nevada)


  • Ted Cruz (Texas)
  • Mike Lee (Utah)


  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Bill Cassidy (Louisianna)

Impossible Nut to Crack

Republicans can only afford to lose two votes. Three to four senators will not vote for the bill because it does not go far enough. Another two to four senators are wavering because the bill goes too far.

If everyone was opposed for the same reason, there might be an easy solution. In reality, Senators are opposed for opposite reasons.

I actually doubt if there will be a vote. It’s just as well.

The position of Ron Johnson is impeccable. Pragmatically speaking, however, it better to hope there is no vote.

The Rule of Nothing explains why.

In any given political situation, the best outcome one can reasonably expect generally happens when politicians do nothing. 

Implied corollary#1: When politicians attempt to fix any problem, they are highly likely to make matters worse.

Corollary #2: Politicians almost never do nothing. It’s why we have a messed up healthcare system, education system, public pension system, etc..

Law of Bad Ideas

Inquiring minds may also wish to investigate the Law of Bad Ideas.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock