Wednesday, March 08, 2017

What they do best

Building on a decades old reputation for being unable to govern, the Republicans in Congress have congealed against what was supposed to be the Crown Jewel of their legislative agenda, Trumpcare. After years of calling for the "Repeal and Replacement" of The ACA, they find that repeal may be dangerous to their careers and replacement is beyond their capabilities.
After seven years of waiting longingly to annul President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Republican leaders on Tuesday faced a sudden revolt from the right that threatened their proposal to remake the American health care system.

The much-anticipated House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act also drew skepticism from some of the party’s more moderate members, whose constituents have benefited from expanded coverage in recent years.

The criticism came even before lawmakers knew the cost of the replacement plan and how many people might lose their health care if it were enacted.

House Republicans were rushing the legislation through two powerful committees — Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce — with the hope of a full House vote next week, an extraordinarily compressed time frame considering that the legislation affects many parts of the United States economy and could alter the health care of millions of Americans.

But the swift opposition from fellow Republicans signaled that they might have to drastically reconsider their approach, and the White House portrayed the bill as a work in progress. If more than a dozen House Republicans defect, the bill will be in jeopardy, with Democrats almost certainly united as a bloc.

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for,” said Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who was joined by a constellation of conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Charles G. and David H. Koch’s Americans for Prosperity. “It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction. We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that.”

The Republican bill would scrap the mandated coverage in the Affordable Care Act in favor of tax incentives to coax people to purchase health care. But the legislation maintains many of the act’s mandates and basic benefits, including prohibiting insurers from denying policies for pre-existing conditions or capping benefits in a year or a lifetime.

Some conservatives have labeled the House plan “Obamacare lite,” saying it is nearly as intrusive in the insurance market as the law it would replace. In particular, they dislike the delay in getting rid of the law’s Medicaid expansion. They also dislike the tax credits in the Republican plan, which can exceed the amount a consumer actually owes in federal income taxes, meaning that the Internal Revenue Service would be issuing checks to cover insurance premiums. The House plan also maintains many of the demands on insurers that the Affordable Care Act has, including a defined suite of “essential benefits” that all insurers must offer.
The Republicans just can't govern their way out of a wet paper bag but they talk a mean game. Infact, meanness is the heart and soul of their legislative approach to fucking up.


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