Senate Republicans Will Not Even Start With House Obamacare Replacement

Paul Ryan - Tax RedistributionSenate Republicans on Thursday said that they will come up with their own version of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare rather than vote on the bill that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and colleagues in the lower body of Congress have spent weeks hammering into passable shape.

Twelve lawmakers are working on a Senate proposal that may incorporate elements of the bill passed Thursday by the House, The Washington Examiner reported, but it will not be based on the current measure. …

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told The Examiner that the group of lawmakers has already been meeting for weeks, as House leadership frantically tried to whip enough votes to pass their own bill.

“It was kind of a moot issue if the House wasn’t going to be able to pass a bill and now they have and I’m proud of them for doing it,” Cornyn said, as quoted in the report. “Now it’s up to us to pass a bill 51 senators can agree to.”

–Esme Cribb
Sorry, Ryan: Senate Republicans to Scrap House Repeal Bill, Start From Scratch

10 thoughts on “Senate Republicans Will Not Even Start With House Obamacare Replacement

  1. Here’s what I’m expecting to happen: McConnell et. al. will create a bill that’s terrible but not quite as bad as the thing the House just passed. Then they’ll try to claim it as a compromise. Our “both sides are bad” media will frame the debate as “Obamacare is the far-left option, Ryancare is the far right option, and the Senate bill is the sensible, centrist compromise.” With that cover, it’ll be far easier to spin whatever crap they come up with as responsible and serious, no matter how much harm it does.

    • I’m so pissed at this I can’t even function. Democrats went with a straight-up, offend-no-corporation health care bill back when a majority of Americans wanted something more. Those of us who were bugged by this got told (as usual), “get your head out of the clouds. The important thing is to get something passed. We can always make it more progressive later.” Our response was “you’re going to pay dearly in future elections, as this plan doesn’t stop premiums from rising — costs which will now be blamed on Obamacare, instead of the insurance companies.” Again, the establishment Democrats poor-poohed our concerns. Clearly, we health care purists knew nothing about how politics work.

      Lo and behold, voters blamed rising premiums on Obamacare. Lo and behold, the Democrats’ “we’ll start from here and make future improvements” health care plan is in serious danger now of being eviscerated, and all but the richest Americans worse off with health insurance than they were in 2008.

      Someone explain to me, again, why Democrats always have to govern from the center-right, so they can win elections, so they can put slightly useful reforms into law. Because what I keep seeing is losing elections, and those oh-so-cautious reforms tossed in the dustbin.

      Sorry to be cranky, but health care is the absolute #1 issue for me. The Democrats shit the bed on this. And it wasn’t hard to see the fallout well in advance.

      • I forgot how easy it was to pass single payer. All you have to do is say “it shall be done.” And ignore the fact that 75% of the country hates it. Ignore the fact that doing even the little that they could do took extraordinary effort in both the Senate and the House at the cost of the majority.

        Nope, it was super easy. All you had to do was write a quickie bill: “pass single payer” and bam, It was done. Like magic.

        • I was thinking of the public option, but the larger point is this: perhaps sometimes the best strategy is to fight for something and lose, so that your opponents are on record. It was inevitable that under health care reform which did little to curb rising premiums, there’d be a huge backlash against “government takeover.” Perhaps a better strategy would have been empowering states to try their own public option experiments. This was in the original bill, but the GOP torpedoed necessary startup funding.

          The claim was made at the time, and I half-accepted it, that the ACA was better than pushing for something stronger and losing. As the ACA would save lives immediately (which it did) and could be improved upon later (which it has not). Meanwhile, the GOP has run for so long on dismantling it that their base will be happy with any health care plan which doesn’t have Socialist Kenyan Muslim’s name on it. It will hurt most of them, to be sure. While any gains made from passing the weak ACA will probably be lost. So I don’t see where caving to insurance companies helped at all in the long run.

          In order to undo the Reagan meme of “gummint bad,” we have to start delivering in some big fashion on “responsible governance works.” Whether it be health care, curbing police violence, any problem we can find an opening to address. And perhaps we need to think of new ways to explain why these solutions can help. As you know, voters support Democratic goals in polls; just not at the ballot box. Hillary’s policy platform was perfectly sensible and the parts she might have passed would be hugely beneficial. Few voters trust the Democrats to enact any policies which actually do improve their lives. Better a gamble on some lunatic wildcard, or just lose faith in voting at all.

          Because if the current situation boils down to “Americans are too mean & stupid for any improvement in our democracy,” then there really isn’t an action plan. It’s like me deciding my Nazi boss (who actually does like the Nazis) is impossible to make less mean. That’s no plan. I’ll keep attempting to find ways to make him less mean, because, otherwise, what can I do?

  2. I am sort of in the middle of of where James and Elizabeth are.

    I agree with Elizabeth that actually getting Obamacare passed was a Herculean effort. On paper, the Dems held all the cards but in practice, several factors conspired to make Obamacare weaker than it was supposed to be. Franken was not seated until the Spring and Kennedy was very ill and died in August so there never was a functional 60 seat majority and therefor took the public option off the table. There was the unctuous concern about “the Debt!” which influenced the whole debate and gave us much less generous subsidies. Finally, there was the racialized fear that the this young black President was fixing to gut medicare and leave older white folks to die and it did cause fiery town halls to happen and to give every Republican and a number of Democrats cold feet about passing the bill.

    I’m with James on the broader strategic critique that there is this huge asymmetry in out politics. Republicans are, as Frank has documented many times, America’s revolutionary party and they will bend and break the rules to the extent that it serves them. Republicans demonize Democrats and liberals very effectively and they offer a vision. It may be a loathsome vision, it may be a the Republic of Gildead crossed with Elysium (The 2013 movie) crossed with the Hunger Games but it is a vision and the Dems need a countervailing vision.

    One thing, we can all agree upon is that, liberals need to vote in midterms. No matter what flavor of liberalism that we ascribe to, it has to be maddening that Republicans seem to control midterm elections and nothing serious can get done or even be preserved unti lthat changes. let’s hope that 2018 will be the election where America finally tells Trump and the GOP “no, no means no.”

    • There’s almost an inherent disadvantage in liberalism, in that because we take our goals seriously, we’re bound to have disagreements on how to accomplish them. For right-wing politicians and talk show hosts, things are much simpler. Think tanks focus-test talking points among red-meat voters in out-of-the way regions, decide on a propaganda strategy, and issue the marching orders. Every spokesmouth repeats these in unison. They don’t really give a shit about the phony issues they’re hyping, so it’s easy to follow the plan.

      Liberals have passionately debated amongst themselves since, well, forever. This can be a healthy thing, as long as we respect each others’ points of view. Recently, on a well-known liberal website, the site runner laid down the law; if you care more about universal health care than the rights of immigrants, you are a traitor to the cause and not welcome.

      That site runner’s approach seems unproductive to me. Everybody is going to have their own top issues. It’s important that we have people who are focused on health care, immigrants’ rights, civil rights, gender equality, climate change, the whole shebang. Jane Goodall probably is more focused on endangered species than services for people with disabilities; for me, that’s reversed. And I consider us both to be on the same team.

      This probably contributes to our difficulties in turnout out for midterms. Presidential candidates are so scrutinized that it’s easy to know where they stand. Every liberal knew Clinton was better than Trump. Whereas candidates for the Senate and House have a much lower profile. If your issue is reducing student debt, you probably aren’t going to be particularly excited about your local representative’s stance — hell, you probably don’t know what your local candidate’s stance is on anything. While Republicans are screaming about the liberal outrage du jour, motivating their voters. They know their candidate is against it! Whatever “it” is.

      • In war and in politics (which is an extension of the former), smaller, homogeneous and more determined armies frequently rout larger coalition forces.

        I see that happening with the Democratic coalition, it is is bigger but less reliable. IMO, every liberal needs to show up and vote for every single candidate with the letter D next to their name. Even the most centrist of Democrats perform the function of keeping a Republican out of a seat/office. Republicans are and want to keep on rigging the game so that no liberal of any sort can ever win again.

        I may have some disagreements with Hillary Clint nand the center left but if Hillary were President we would know that the Census would be above board and that the Federal government would, at the very least, not be encouraging even more voter suppression in the various States.

        • No argument here. We can and (I believe) should try to push the Democrats leftward, but it’s important to realize that no Republican is harmless these days. Not even for city dogcatcher. Either they’re actively pursuing the end of democratic government, or they’re dumbly supporting those who are.

          It’s amazing how much these people venerate the supposedly sacred Constitution when it’s their interpretation of it, as opposed to the actual words. The Founders never meant to allow this, the Founders never meant to allow that. Well, OK, fine, if you say so (and you think we should be ruled by the social mores of 1780). But government running a Post Office? Fuck it, privatize that shit. A census every decade? Screw that outdated nonsense. It’s only crystal clear, it can’t be as important as the deciphered intentions.

          It’s rather like fundamentalists who will argue straightfaced that Jesus attacking money changers outside the Temple is a metaphor for doing away with taxation, then claim the whole camel/needle line didn’t really refer to rich people.

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