UPDATE: As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, history would seem to be repeating itself on Trumpcare:
So, outside of a handful of people like Rep. Meadows (N.C.) and Rep. MacArthur (N.J.), leaders of the Freedom Caucus and the Republican moderates respectively, almost no one in the House GOP conference has actually seen the changed bill, much less approved of it. [Pols emphasis]
This is a problem. A big problem.
Why? Try to think all the way back to March 7 — it was more than a month ago, I know — when House Republicans introduced the much-ballyhooed American Health Care Act. Within days of its introduction, the legislation was doomed — as GOP members who hadn’t been a part of the behind-closed-doors crafting of the bill rebelled against this provision or that provision.
Sound familiar? A bill crafted by a small subset of House Republicans? CHECK. Unseen, at the moment, by the bulk of the GOP conference? CHECK. Unbridled optimism without a ton of evidence to account for it? CHECK.
Perhaps Republicans will let Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) read the bill this time before they make him stump for the proposal.
Judging by how things have gone already, we wouldn’t cross our fingers if we were Coffman.
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reports the latest round of potential bad news for millions of Americans who have gotten health coverage via the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare:
House Republicans have been hinting they may introduce a new plan to replace Obamacare before the 100th day of the Trump presidency. Naturally, giving President Trump something to arbitrarily tout as an achievement (even if it passes the House, the Senate looms) in advance of the arbitrary 100-day mark is far more important than the human toll the proposal would have on millions.
Now Republicans are indeed set to introduce the new plan, multiple reports tell us. And judging by a new study set to be released today, it is even crueler than the last GOP plan: The study finds premiums would likely soar for the sick, probably pushing them off coverage.
…It allows states to seek a waiver to get rid of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, on the condition that states set up or participate in high-risk pools that would help cover any of those people who lose insurance. It would also restore to the GOP bill the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) — such as doctor’s and emergency room visits and maternity care — but allow states to seek waivers from them.
In effect, the waiver on preexisting conditions is designed to make conservatives happy, while giving moderates high-risk pools that allow them to argue it wouldn’t harm people with preexisting conditions. The restoration of EHBs is designed to make moderates happy, while telling conservatives states could still get out from under them.
The bottom line, says the Huffington Post, is that the new bill does more to placate the right wing than moderate Republicans–keeping in mina how both factions of the GOP opposed the previous iteration of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill, but for polar opposite reasons:
[W]ith Republicans effectively going back on their repeated promises to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, the amendment could lose a number of Republicans who already supported the legislation. In short, even though the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus think they have a deal, Republicans writ large might have nothing…
“This effectively allows states to eliminate the ACA’s guarantee of access to insurance at a reasonable price for people with pre-existing conditions, in the interest of lowering premiums for people who are healthy,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, said upon seeing a description of the proposal. “It seems to tilt heavily towards what the Freedom Caucus has been looking for.”
Whether this latest effort falls apart just like the last attempt remains to be seen. After the failure of the so-called American Health Care Act, President Donald Trump announced he was moving on to other priorities, and expressed hope that Obamacare’s “implosion” would motivate Democrats to come to the table. This new push for a GOP-led health care reform effort would seem to indicate that the political cost of abandoning the issue entirely is too high–Trump would rightly take the blame for Obamacare breaking down with no effort to stabilize it, but turning to Democrats to definitively fix the Affordable Care Act would alienate too many base Republicans.
So once more into the breach, dear friends, with the same basic deal everyone hates.