On Thursday, the United States Senate voted on repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This bill would have completely repealed what was known by most as Obamacare. The repeal made sense, as it would take the government out of healthcare for the time being. The problem, for most, was that no replacement would be added in to help. This turned off various Republicans.
The idea would have been to repeal Obamacare then replace it in 2 years. This long of a period would have cost millions their healthcare, with no other option to help them. It would have taken place at the beginning of 2018, which gave people time. However, with unemployment being a problem even still….it would be impossible to know if people would have healthcare. So the idea of just “getting a better job” if you want healthcare is both idiotic, and a failure as a response.
The Republicans and Senate overall would turn down the full repeal, which brought us to the vote on “skinny repeal” on Friday. This form of repeal would have allowed for the forced tax to go down, along with some extra costs on both the government and the people. However, many felt this would have turned into an eventual full repeal soon after.
Skinny Repeal Fails
The Senate would vote having all 48 Democrats vote “no.” Meanwhile, 3 Republicans would vote “no” as well. This led to the majority decision to kill the bill. The bill came down to the wire in dramatic fashion, as Arizona Senator John McCain would join fellow Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins in declining the bill on skinny repeal.
McCain would, at first, seemingly not vote. He would not be in the chamber at the time of his name being called. He would then return to make sure his vote was heard with “thumbs down” Roman style, just so people knew what he wanted for certain. President Trump took to Twitter after the voting blow, as he’s now been known to do. He would claim that:
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
Up to a point, the President is right. Eventually the market will implode, which is why both Republicans and Democrats want to replace it. However, the sides cannot agree. Liberals want a bill too far liberal while Conservatives want a bill too far conservative. McCain has been adamant about both sides coming together to make a proper healthcare bill, but his words have fallen on deaf ears. He isn’t the only one saying it, as others have claimed similar.
Why Did This Repeal Fail?
It’s pretty simple on why the bill failed, it needed to. It would have hurt millions, while also not solving any problem for the remaining. It would have been like a friend of yours falling and breaking his leg, and then he would turn over and shoot you in your leg. Both of you are now hurt, but he hurt you just so you could “feel his pain.” That isn’t the right way to go about it, and clearly the majority of Senators feel the same. Plus, that same guy with the broken leg now also has no one to carry him to get help and he’s worse off for it. Same as this bill would do to people even not using the ACA.
The bill also seemed to have a lot of interesting factors that few knew of before voting took place. There were even Republicans who were supposed to vote that had no idea about what this “skinny repeal” would include. It was supposed to take away individual and employer mandates(the monthly tax) and temporarily repeal the medical device tax. There was also a plan to give states more flexibility to insurers who don’t comply with Obamacare regulations.
Basically, some assume it would have dropped prices but without the taxes coming in…prices would remain the same. Then insurers would have better healthcare in higher packages, as they do not have to comply with Obamacare’s ten essential benefits. This would include prescriptions, mental health, maternal health, etc. All of this would be involved, but in various packages with these insurers. Some would not have to offer them at all.
Price Change Would Be Horrific
The Congressional Budget Office scored both repeal plans, as well as the skinny repeal for the Friday vote. The repeal bill would have meant that 15 million or more people would be insured next year than under the Affordable Care Act now. On top of this, at least 16 million would join them by year 2026. With no replacement plan in place, there would not have to be another insurance change in play to help anyone.
To add more harm, premiums were expected to jump 20% more next year than compared to the ACA. This should be the biggest thing that affects people against Obamacare. As this rise would affect everyone, even you. Therefore, right now premiums are high but imagine how high they would have been in this case.
There were no guarantees out of this, which is what really got John McCain and others into a frenzy before the vote. He and others threatened to tank the bill unless a guarantee would be given that the House of Representatives would get into negotiations over a replacement after this. The fear for most was that the House would just pass the skinny bill rather than a comprehensive effort that would have helped the American people.
Senator Lindsey Graham would join McCain and others in a press conference saying:
“I’m not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and politics just to get something done.”
Though, he did end up joining the vote.
Random Threats To Republican Hold-Outs?
It seems obvious that any Republican voting against the bill would have been targeted by President Trump. It’s clear that John McCain is too tough a target to after, due to the whole brain cancer situation. McCain is also a seasoned Senator who has voted against his party multiple times in the past. Plus McCain typically has the Senate on his side as well as others simply due to being able to work with everyone. However, the others in Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins were free game.
The Alaskan Dispatch News did an incredibly eye-opening report on a tactic President Trump is playing against Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski. The report claims that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski and Dan Sullivan recently. He told them that Murkowski’s opposition to the vote Tuesday to start debate “put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.”
This might seem odd, because it certainly is. For those unaware, Murkowski chairs the panel that’s jurisdiction includes oversight of the Interior Department, and of course Zinke. This is basically President Trump threatening Murkowski with her chair role as a way to bully her into voting in favor of the bills coming out in the few days following. She still opposed them anyway. Maine Senator Susan Collins has not heard anything out of the White House after his rejection of both repeal bills.