Health Care Bill Is Dead, But Continues to Shamble Along

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The Republican health care bill can’t pass but won’t die:

With two days left before an 11-day recess and no vote scheduled, House Republican leaders considered last-minute changes to their latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, including at least $8 billion in extra spending to answer the concerns of an influential Republican who had come out against the measure.

….The extra spending could anger the most conservative members of the House, who had recently come around to supporting the bill. Last-minute spending increases and special provisions in 2010 to win over Senate Democrats to the Affordable Care Act had stoked outrage among conservatives who fumed at “the Cornhusker kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.”

Hmmm. Is that $8 billion per year, or $8 billion over ten years?1 Not that it matters very much. This is a minuscule amount either way, and it doesn’t change much of anything. In any case, the basic problem is still around:

Centrists said it didn’t make sense for them to take a potentially career-ending vote on a bill that might not be passed by the Senate, which has 52 Republicans. If the Senate does pass the measure, it is likely to amend it significantly to address the concerns of centrists in that body—and that version, in turn, could be rejected by conservatives back in the House.

And this:

GOP Reps. Ken Calvert of Corona and Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa are among those who supported the original version of the bill but have backed away from the amended version. Another, Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Richvale, remained undecided. “That’s part of my own internal struggle — if we do something and it’s still harmful to a lot of folks,” La Malfa said.

Yeah, that’s a struggle all right. But President Trump is blissfully unaware of any of this:

“How’s health care coming, folks? How’s it doing? All right. We’re moving along? All right. I think it’s time now, right? Right?” he said after name-checking some lawmakers in attendance as he presented the U.S. Air Force Academy football team with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy at the White House.

It must be nice to be so invincibly ignorant. Nice for Trump, anyway.

1Oh hell. It’s neither one. It’s $8 billion over five years. Where did that come from? Anyway, that’s $1.6 billion per year, which is so tiny I don’t understand why anyone would even consider hinging their vote on this.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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