REPEAL AND REPLACE DERAILED
But then this happened.
A meeting during the presidential election between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer came to light. It might have been about the election. It might have been about adoptions. It might have been collusion, or corruption, or something else. Donald Jr. kept changing his story. Then he tweeted out a series of emails about this meeting.
Needless to say everyone’s attention in the news media and Washington, was drawn to Russia and its attempts to influence the last presidential election.
rEVISIONS MADE, BUT ARE THERE ENOUGH VOTES?
So healthcare reform got pushed to the background. But it didn’t go away completely.
After a July recess where GOP Senators and Representatives continued avoiding town hall meetings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the August recess was being pushed out two weeks. They simply hadn’t gotten enough work done. One of the things they hadn’t gotten done: repealing and replacing Obamacare.
The initial read of the revised bill is that it’s a lot of the same with some funding to address opioid addiction and fewer tax cuts.
Whether they have the votes, after twisting arms, pulling out some of the tax breaks and softening the coverage requirements, remains a question as the vote on the bill is still expected next week.
PROMISES, ARE THEY MADE TO BE BROKEN?
It is possible that the Republicans won’t be able to keep their promise to get rid of Obamacare.
I wonder what the fallout will be, political and otherwise, of dragging people through these procedural shenanigans. Where do we go with healthcare reform after months of secret bill writing, no public hearings, contentious constituent calls, and plenty of public protest?
Our healthcare system needs reform. We cannot simply ignore one-sixth of the economy and its impact on people’s lives. With Obamacare progress has been made: more people have health insurance and the rate of cost increases has been slowed. But there are people and places in this country where those effects aren’t being felt.
Alice M. Rivlin, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute offers us what I think is a reasonable path. She writes:
In the face of that frightening electoral prospect, they [the Republicans] should abandon their tortured attempt to use the arcane reconciliation process to pass major health reform on a strictly partisan basis and work with Democrats to craft a bill that moderates in both parties can support and defend.
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