It should be abundantly clear by now that Establishment Republicans do not want to repeal Obamacare. Now that they finally have the chance to do what they said they wanted to do, they buckle, dissemble, and fold.
Despite their promises, despite their re-election campaign statements, it is really apparent that Ryan, McConnell, etal have no wish to repeal Obamacare. They only want you to think they do. They want you to think they are trying but are using every excuse and every legislative trick they can find to justify breaking their promises. Thus they call the Ryan Plan repeal and replace when it does no such thing.
The Ryan Plan deserves to die in the House and everyone should take a step back and simply repeal Obamacare. Like they all said, it’s bad policy, bad law, it can’t work, it is actuarially unsound, and is descending into insolvency as we watch.
And incidentally, Obamacare has gone a long way toward destroying the best health care system in the world.
Repeal it. They can do it but only if they want to. They make the rules, they interpret the rules, and they can change the rules; If they want to.
Jon Smith, Admin, 3/22/2017
Mike Lee: Senate parliamentarian told me it’s possible to push harder on repealing Obamacare regulations
From The Washington Examiner: By PHILIP KLEIN (@PHILIPAKLEIN) • 3/22/17
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said on Wednesday that the Senate parliamentarian has told him that it may be possible for Republicans to push harder on repealing Obamacare’s regulations than the current House bill, which contradicts the assertion by House leadership that the legislation goes after Obamacare as aggressively as possible under Senate rules.
“What I understood her to be saying is that there’s no reason why an Obamacare repeal bill necessarily could not have provisions repealing the health insurance regulations,” Lee said in an interview with the Washington Examiner, relating a conversation with parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough about reconciliation he had on Tuesday.
Lee also said that the parliamentarian told him it wasn’t until very recently, after the unveiling of the House bill, that any Republican even asked her about the possibility of repealing regulations with a simple majority.
With a House vote currently expected on Thursday, Republican leadership is scrambling for votes, trying to stave off a backlash from conservatives that could sink the bill. One of the issues conservatives have raised is that the House bill leaves most of the regulations in place, thus not combatting one of the main complaints about Obamacare – its skyrocketing premiums and limited choice.
Because Republicans don’t have 60 Senate seats to kill a filibuster, they have to pass a healthcare bill through a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows the majority party to pass legislation with a simple majority, assuming it meets a certain set of requirements, including that all provisions be primarily budgetary in nature.
Conservatives such as Lee have argued that Republicans should fight harder to argue that the regulations, which have a clear budgetary impact, can be passed through reconciliation. But House leadership and supporters of the bill have countered that the legislation already goes as far as possible. House Speaker Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong, when asked about this by the Washington Examiner last week, said “We’ve worked closely with the Senate to carefully craft the bill to repeal and replace the law to the full extent allowed under the rules.”
But having met with the parliamentarian, who plays a key role in advising the presiding officer of the Senate over what’s in bounds during reconciliation, Lee is more convinced than ever that this is not true.
“One of the things we’ve been told over and over again is the bill was no more aggressive than it has been… in part because of Senate rules,” Lee said. “And the Senate rules are something those defending the bill have repeatedly pointed to in defense of why they wrote it the way they wrote it. The parliamentarian said, there’s not necessarily any reason that would categorically preclude you from doing more, both on the repeal front and the replacement front, all sorts of things are possible.”
He continued, “What matters is how it’s done, how it’s written up. There are ways it’s written up that perhaps make it not subject to passage through reconciliation, but there are other ways you could write it that might make it work.”
To be clear, Lee wasn’t suggesting the parliamentarian indicated that repealing the regulations would be definitely doable, but that, “There’s no reason categorically to conclude you couldn’t.”