Republicans Fail Again To Kill Off Obamacare In Senate
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Republicans on Tuesday fell short yet again in their seven-year drive to repeal Obamacare, in a bitter defeat that raises more questions about their ability to enact President Donald Trumps agenda.
The party was unable to win enough support from its own senators for a bill to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act and decided not to put it to a vote, several Republicans said. The bills sponsors vowed to try again, but face steeper odds after Sunday, when special rules expire that allow them to pass healthcare legislation without Democratic support.
We basically ran out of time, said Senator Ron Johnson, a co-sponsor of the measure with Senators Bill Cassidy, Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller.
Republicans have now repeatedly failed to deliver on their longtime promise to roll back former Democratic President Barack Obamas signature domestic accomplishment.
They have yet to achieve any major domestic policy successes in Congress this year, which could hurt their efforts to retain control of the Senate and House of Representatives in the November 2018 congressional elections.
Republicans widely view Obamacare, which provides coverage to 20 million Americans, as a costly government overreach. Trump vowed frequently during the 2016 election campaign to scrap it. Democrats have fiercely defended it, saying it has extended health insurance to millions.
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Something seemed afoot before the vote. It was delayed. McCain was seen huddling with Democrats. Vice President Pence, who had come to the Capitol expecting to be the tiebreaking vote, personally and unsuccessfully lobbied McCain on the floor to try to win his vote.
With McCains vote apparently gone, Republicans were seen trying to persuade Alaskas Lisa Murkowski to vote for the bill to no avail. She eventually also voted no along with Maines Susan Collins.
Republicans Refused To Vote To Roll Back Obamacares Coverage Gains
Collins and Murkowski have made clear for weeks that simply undoing what Obamacare had accomplished coverage gains, expanded Medicaid, protections for people with preexisting conditions was unacceptable.
I want greater access and lower costs. So far, Im not seeing that happen, Murkowski told me in mid-June.
Her state, though it struggles with the highest health care costs in the country, has expanded Medicaid to cover its poorest residents and has seen tens of thousands of people sign up for private coverage. Every plan Republicans put forward was projected to result in millions fewer people having insurance and out-of-pocket costs rising.
Collins made it equally plain.
I cannot support a bill that is going to result in tens of millions of people losing their health insurance, she said last month.
The math on each of the Senate GOP plans was clear. Repeal and replace: 22 million more uninsured. Repeal only: 32 million. Skinny repeal: 16 million.
The striking coverage losses led other Republican senators to oppose every plan but skinny repeal. Sen. Dean Heller also voted against repeal and replace and clean repeal after holding a press conference last month with his states Republican governor, saying that the gains made after Nevada expanded Medicaid shouldnt be reversed.
We cant let fall behind the progress weve made in Nevada, Heller said.
Likewise, on the repeal-only legislation, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she couldnt support it.
Collins was aghast.
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Trump Wants To Repeal And Replace The Affordable Care Act Quickly
Following the Republican playbook, Donald Trump promised as president to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to replace it with something that emphasizes free market principles.
Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare, Trump said at a Nov. 7, 2016, rally in Michigan.
Currently, 20 million people have health insurance under President Barack Obamas signature law, and the uninsured rate is below 9 percent, a record low. Repealing and replacing Obamacare would require lawmakers to figure out whether they will cover those people, and if so, how.
WHY HES PROMISING IT
The Affordable Care Act isnt popular. Polling conducted in 2016 shows that Americans are divided on the law.
And the law has some problems. Despite provisions aimed at curbing rising health care costs, premiums for plans on HealthCare.gov are expected to go up an average of 22 percent in 2017. Insurance companies have pulled out of the marketplaces in 29 states.
HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST
Trump has several policy ideas for what the health care law replacement should include. He suggests allowing providers to sell insurance across state lines, making it so individuals could deduct premium payments from their tax returns and requiring price transparency from health care providers. He also proposes block-granting Medicaid to the states and encouraging health savings accounts.
WHATS STANDING IN HIS WAY
How Obamacare Became Law
I originally posted this piece on November 21, 2013. ;However after yesterdays Supreme Court ruling it began trending, so Im reposting:
It was the trickiest legislative move ever accomplished in the Congress. ;Heres my best play-by-play:
Obamacare was signed into law in March 2010. ;If you recall, Nancy Pelosis Democratic majority in the House of Representatives was unable to pass their version of a healthcare law. Because all revenue bills have to originate in the House, the Senate found a bill that met those qualifications: HR3590, a military housing bill. They essentially stripped the bill of its original language;and turned it into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , aka Obamacare.
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Mccain Hated Obamacare He Also Saved It
Many lawmakers made their names in health care, seeking to usher through historic changes to a broken system.
John McCain was not one of them.
And yet, the six-term senator from Arizona and decorated military veteran leaves behind his own health care legacy, seemingly driven less by his interest in health care policy than by his disdain for bullies trampling the little guy.
He was not always successful. While McCain was instrumental in the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990, most of the health initiatives he undertook failed after running afoul of traditional Republican priorities. His prescriptions often involved more government regulation and increased taxes.
A Comparison Of Amendments To The Affordable Care Act And The Republican Plan
Senate Republican leaders have proposed four versions of their plan, but at least twice, the bills have failed to reach the floor because several Republican senators announced their opposition. They are trying to pass a bill without Democratic support, and their slim two-vote majority leaves little room for Republican dissent.
Its really hard to thread that needle when you have different groups that oppose the bill for such different reasons within the same party, said Allison K. Hoffman, a health care policy expert and law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Soon after the Senate bill collapsed this week, Mr. Schumer urged Republican lawmakers to start fresh and pursue a bipartisan effort an idea that Mr. McConnell had floated a few weeks ago, when he realized his bill was in trouble.
The A.C.A. is a bill that is very bipartisan in nature, Ms. Hoffman said. Critical ideas for the Affordable Care Act were borne of more conservative thinking, she said.
The federal mandate to buy insurance is similar to a mandate that Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, had enacted as Massachusetts governor. The concept that people should be required to buy health coverage originated with conservative economists two decades ago and was initially embraced by conservative research groups, like the Heritage Foundation.
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Poll: Nearly 10 Years After Its Enactment The Affordable Care Act Is More Popular Than Ever As Republican Voters Instead Target Medicare
Health Care is a Top Issue for Swing Voters, Who Prefer a Public Option to Medicare-for-all
With the Supreme Court today considering whether to take up a case that seeks to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, the latest KFF tracking poll finds that a clear majority of the public now views the law favorably its highest rating in more than 100 KFF polls since it became law nearly 10 years ago. In comparison, slightly more than a third hold unfavorable views.
The recent uptick reflects strong support among Democrats, 85% of whom now express favorable views. A narrow majority of independents also view the law favorably.
While most Republicans still hold unfavorable views towards the ACA, the poll suggests that Republican voters have largely moved on from efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and now rank opposition to a single-payer government health plan like Medicare-for-all among their top health priorities. When asked what about health care is important to their vote, few Republican voters say repealing the Affordable Care Act, while much larger shares say health care costs or opposition to Medicare-for-all .
Republicans seem to be shifting their ire from the ACA to Medicare-for-all, KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said. The gulf between Republicans and Democrats on health has never been wider.
Additional findings from the poll will be released next week.
Attempts To Change Or Repeal
Read Ballotpedia’s fact check »
The Affordable Care Act was subject to a number of lawsuits challenging some of its provisions, such as the individual mandate and the requirement to cover contraception. Four of these lawsuits were heard by the United States Supreme Court, resulting in changes to the law and how it was enforced. In addition, since the law’s enactment, lawmakers in Congress have introduced and considered legislation to modify or repeal parts or all of the Affordable Care Act. Finally, between 2010 and 2012, voters in eight states considered ballot measures related to the law. This section summarizes the lawsuits, legislation, and state ballot measures that attempted to change, repeal, or impact enforcement of parts of the law.
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The 8 Republicans Who Voted Against Trump’s Anti
Eight House Republicans on Wednesday joined Democrats to vote in favor of a resolution decrying the Trump administration’s push to have the courts invalidate ObamaCare.
The measure passed in a 240-186 vote.
The group of eight GOP lawmakers, largely made up of;centrist Republicans, opted to support the nonbinding measure led by freshman Rep. Colin Allred rebuking the Department of Justices recent announcement that it backs a district courts ruling deeming the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
Here are the;Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote against Trump.
Frederick Stephen UptonEquilibrium/ Sustainability Presented by NextEra Energy West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codesHouse passes bill requiring EPA to regulate ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking waterMORE
Upton, who previously served as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, explained his vote by citing the lack of an alternative to former President Obamas landmark health care legislation.
Pulling the safety net out from under our fellow Americans by repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan ready to go on day one would be cruel and irresponsible,” he said in a statement to The Hill.
The Real Reason Republicans Couldnt Kill Obamacare
Democrats did the work, Republicans didntand that says a lot about the two parties.
Adapted from The Ten Year War: Obamacare and the Unfinished Crusade for Universal Coverage, St. Martins Press 2021.
The Affordable Care Act, the health-care law also known as Obamacare, turns 11 years old this week. Somehow, the program has not merely survived the GOPs decade-long assault. Its actually getting stronger, thanks to some major upgrades tucked in the COVID-19 relief package that President Joe Biden signed into law earlier this month.
The new provisions should enable millions of Americans to get insurance or save money on coverage they already purchase, bolstering the health-care law in precisely the way its architects had always hoped to do. And although the measures are temporary, Biden and his Democratic Party allies have pledged to pass more legislation making the changes permanent.
The expansion measures are a remarkable achievement, all the more so because Obamacares very survival seemed so improbable just a few years ago, when Donald Trump won the presidency. Wiping the law off the books had become the Republicans defining cause, and Trump had pledged to make repeal his first priority. As the reality of his victory set in, almost everybody outside the Obama White House thought the effort would succeed, and almost everybody inside did too.
That was no small thing, as Republicans were about to discover.
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Vulnerable Gop Senators Vote To Protect Affordable Care Act From Trump Lawsuit
Six Republican senators, five of whom are up for re-election in 2020, sided with Democrats on Thursday in a procedural vote to block the Trump administration from supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Why it matters: The final vote on the motion was 51-43, failing to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to pass. But the move by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer forced several vulnerable GOP senators to go on the record on whether they support the lawsuit, which could strip protections from pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans.
The state of play: Sens. Susan Collins , Joni Ernst , Cory Gardner , Martha McSally and Dan Sullivan all voted with Democrats and are facing close re-election fights. Sen. Lisa Murkowski also voted in favor.
- Sens. Steve Daines , Thom Tillis and David Perdue are facing tough re-election races, but voted against the motion.
Flashback: All six GOP senators who supported Thursdays bill voted for the 2017 tax bill that set the latest Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act in motion.
Of note: Four of the Republicans to break rank were women nearly half of the nine female GOP senators in Congress.
- While Murkowski is not up for re-election until 2022, she opposed President Trump on quickly confirming a Supreme Court judge to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and has publicly opposed the Trump administration on several occasions.
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Rep Denver Riggleman Of Virginia
The Virginia freshman, a member of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, explained his vote partly as one to protect pre-existing conditions, which he said hit close to home for me and I campaigned on continuing healthcare coverage for those affected.
The healthcare system is broken and Obamacare is a major part of the problem, but we should proceed with caution as we try and fix it. This resolution certainly doesnt help solve the problem, but hopefully will allow us to have a productive discussion on healthcare, he said in an emailed statement.
Trump carried Rigglemans 5th District seat;by 11 points in 2016. Riggleman defeated Democrat Leslie Cockburn by 7 points last fall in a race that got some national attention. Democrats are not targeting him in 2020. Inside Elections rates his race Solid Republican.
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Mcconnell Reacts To ‘skinny Bill’s’ Failure
We told our constituents we would vote that way and when the moment came, the moment came, most of us did,” he said.
“This is clearly a disappointment,” McConnell added. “It’s time to move on.”
The return of McCain to Washington after a brain cancer diagnosis added drama to the already tense proceedings. It was his vote the 50th that allowed Republicans begin debating the measure.
McCain gave a heartfelt speech upon his return to the Senate on Tuesday, decrying the rise of partisanship. And it was McCain who put an end to the partisan repeal effort.
McCain spoke to Trump last night on the phone and the president urged him to vote to for the skinny repeal bill assuring him it wouldnt end up passing into law, according to one source with direct knowledge of the call.
Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in the chamber in a bid to rescue the bill and in preparation to cast the deciding vote, stood alongside McCain’s desk and then joined the senator in the cloakroom. By the time they re-emerged, separately, the vote had begun.
McCain went back to his desk and sat after casting his “no” vote. He eventually made his way to the Democrats’ side of the chamber and was greeted with hugs and cheers.
“I believe each of us stood up for the reasons that we felt were right”
Several Republicans said they did not know where McCain would fall, and there were audible gasps in the chamber when he turned down his thumb to indicate his decision.
A Final Vote Isnt The Whole Story Its Like Researching Your Ancestry And Going No Further Back Than Your Mother And Father
The day after she was one of three;Republican;senators to vote against;her partys proposal to repeal chunks of the Affordable Care Act, Susan Collins of Maine posted a press release that said:;Democrats made a big mistake when they passed the ACA without a single Republican vote. I dont want to see Republicans make the same mistake.
It was a nice nod in the direction of bipartisanship. But it also perpetuates a deceptive narrative, repeated often by Republicans,;that they were completely excluded from the process that resulted in Obamacare. While it is true that no Republican voted for the final bill, it is blatantly untrue that it contains no GOP;DNA. In fact, to make such an assertion is like researching your ancestry and going no further back than your mother and father.;
Not only were Republican senators deeply involved in the process up until its conclusion, but its a cinch that the ACA;might have become law months earlier if;the Democrats, hoping for a bipartisan bill, hadnt spent enormous time and effort wooing GOP senators only to find themselves gulled by false promises of cooperation. And unlike Majority Leader Mitch McConnells semi-secret proceedings that involved only a handful of trusted colleagues, Obamacare, until the very end of the process, was open to public scrutiny.
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