Image

8:25 PM / Sunday August 14, 2022

29 Jul 2017

Vote shows GOP’s problems in replacing Obama health law

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
July 29, 2017 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

By Alan Fram

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Where the Senate Republican effort to demolish the Obama health care law ends up is anyone’s guess, but early indications are the GOP will have a hard time replacing that statute with any sweeping changes.

Senators planned to vote Wednesday on a Republican amendment repealing much of President Barack Obama’s law and giving Congress two years to concoct a replacement. A combination of solid Democratic opposition and Republicans unwilling to tear down the law without a replacement in hand were expected to defeat that plan.

Late Tuesday night, the Senate voted 57-43 to block a wide-ranging proposal by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell replacing Obama’s statute with a far more restrictive GOP substitute. Those voting no included nine Republicans, ranging from conservative Mike Lee of Utah to Maine moderate Susan Collins, in a roll call that raised questions about what if any reshaping of Obama’s law splintered Republicans can muster votes to achieve.

The rejected amendment – the first offered to the bill – was centered on language by McConnell, R-Ky., erasing Obama’s tax penalties on people not buying insurance, cutting Medicaid and trimming its subsidies for consumers. It included a provision by Ted Cruz, R-Texas, letting insurers sell cut-rate policies with skimpy coverage plus an additional $100 billion – sought by Midwestern moderates including Rob Portman, (R-Ohio) – to help states ease out-of-pocket costs for people losing Medicaid.

GOP defectors also included Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, who faces a tough re-election fight next year, and usually steady McConnell allies Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kansas’ Jerry Moran.

Before that defeat, President Donald Trump and McConnell snatched victory from what seemed a likely defeat and won a 51-50 vote to begin debating the GOP drive against Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which sits atop the party’s legislative priorities.

In a day of thrilling political theater, Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie roll call after Sen. John McCain returned to the Capitol from his struggle against brain cancer to help push the bill over the top. There were defections from just two of the 52 GOP senators – Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkoswki – the precise number McConnell could afford to lose and still carry the day.

All Democrats voted against dismantling the 2010 statute that looms as President Barack Obama’s landmark domestic achievement.

Leaders were openly discussing a “skinny bill” repealing unpopular parts of the statute like its tax penalties on people not buying coverage – a tactic aimed chiefly at letting Senate-House bargainers seek a final compromise.

McConnell was practically zen-like in his evaluation of the next steps, saying the Senate will “let the voting take us where it will.”

Asked what Republicans would do now that the dog had caught the car – an expression for someone who regrettably achieves a trying goal – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said, “We’ll have to see if the car can survive.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a final bill negotiated by the two GOP-led chambers would mean “drastic cuts in Medicaid, huge tax cuts for the wealthy, no help for those with pre-existing conditions and tens of millions losing coverage.”

Senators started 20 hours of debate on the bill Tuesday, though angry Democrats were burning time – not counted against that total – by requiring clerks to read amendments. At week’s end, a “vote-a-rama” of rapid-fire voting on a mountain of amendments was expected before moving to final passage – of something.

“Now we’re all going to sit together and we’re going to try and come up with something that’s really spectacular,” Trump told reporters at the White House. He added, “This is the beginning of the end for the disaster known as Obamacare.”

That may prove a premature statement.

Internal GOP differences remained over how starkly to repeal the law, how to reimburse states that would suffer from the bill’s Medicaid cuts and whether to let insurers sell cut-rate, bare-bones coverage that falls short of the requirements.

Image

While pressure and deal-making helped win over vacillating Republicans to begin debate, they remained fragmented over what to do next. Several pointedly left open the possibility of opposing the final bill if it didn’t suit their states.

Even McCain (R-Ariz.), who received a warm standing ovation and bipartisan hugs when he returned, said he’d oppose the final bill if it didn’t reflect changes to help his state and lambasted the roughshod process his own party was using.

He accused party leaders of concocting a plan behind closed doors and “springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Entertainment

The 2022 Dell Music Concert Series: a review

August 14, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: The incomparable Gladys Knight entertains crowds at the Dell Music Center’s...

Week In Review

Father, son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s death

August 12, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery, the parents of Ahmaud Arbery, address...

Health

The value of culturally competent care: How centering health equity can improve quality and lower costs

August 12, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Daniel Sanchez  BPT By Daniel Sanchez Director, Diversity, Inclusion and Health...

Stateside

Mastriano, Pa. nominee, cuts short interview with 1/6 panel

August 12, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Doug Mastriano, speaks at an event on July 1, 2022, at...

Color Of Money

Three ways to protect against social engineering attacks

August 12, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT The foundation of all human relationships is trust. But our tendency to...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Guacamole with White Peaches

August 12, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Apple Tea What’s Cookin’?: 7...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff