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The American Health Care Act
(AHCA) of 2017-MAR, a.k.a.
"Trumpcare" & "Ryancare" is in crisis.

Part 3

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nurse with syringe

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This topic is continued here from Part 2 at the previous page

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2017-MAR-14: The first Republican in Congress announces her intent to vote against the AHCA bill:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) revealed on her Twitter account that:

"I plan to vote NO on the current #AHCA bill. As written the plan leaves too many from my ... district uninsured."

She added, apparently later, that the bill weighed too heavily on the elderly and the poor.

She also released a statement to the Miami Herald, saying:

"After studying the impact of this proposed legislation on my district and speaking with many of my constituents, I have decided to vote no on the bill as currently written. The bill’s consequences for South Florida are clear: too many of my constituents will lose insurance and there will be less funds to help the poor and elderly with their health care." 1

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The AHCA bill received opposition in the House, and might also have problems if it were to reach the Senate:

Rachael Bade, writing for Politico.com on MAR-14, said:

"House GOP leaders scrambled ... to muster support for their plan to replace Obamacare, even as Speaker Paul Ryan conceded for the first time that the bill would need further changes to placate conservatives [who are] threatening to sink the package.

Ryan and his allies spent Wednesday floating the potential modifications — at the request of the White House — to members. They’re trying to gauge if the amendments could win over skeptical conservatives without repelling moderates, who are wary of political blowback [from the public] if the bill moves too far to the right." 2

Some Republicans who are opposed to the reform bill have criticized it because it would leave the "scaffolding" of the existing Obamacare law in place. They have formed a
"Freedom Caucus" composed of almost three dozen conservative Republican representatives opposed to the "Trumpcare" bill as it is currently written.

Some Republicans are opposed to the bill because -- according to the Congressional Budget Office -- it would terminate health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans That might cause tens or hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths per year due to lacking of access to medical care. There are also fundamental political conflicts among Republicans concerning the degree to which the federal government should become directly involved in medical care. Some Representatives are concerned about older adults whose premiums will go through the roof to unaffordable levels. Others are concerned that the bill lets too many features of Obamacare remain in effect. Still others have different objections.

With the sizeable Republican majority in the House, the bill would eventually pass there if most Republican representatives could agree on its wording. However, in order to have the bill later passed in the Senate, Republicans may be forced to choose the reconciliation process. This technique requires only a simple 51 vote majority to pass a bill -- that is, half of the Senators plus one. However, it first has to go through a rigorous examination by the Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, in order to make certain that the bill meets all of the strict requirements to be eligible for reconciliation. In order to meet those requirements, it might be necessary for the Republicans to fire her and replace her with a parliamentarian who is more sympathetic to their cause. 3

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2017-MAR-23: President Trump delivers ultimatum/threat:

On MAR-23. President Trump delivered an ultimatum to the Republican holdouts with a "my way or the highway" threat: if they don't vote for and pass this healthcare bill, they and the rest of the nation would be "stuck" with Obamacare. 4 Presumably he means that if a healthcare reform bill is passed by Congress that is different from the "Ryancare" version currently before the House, then he would veto it. With the degree of opposition in the House to the bill, the chances that the veto could be overturned by Congress is nil.

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Dana Bash, reporting on CNN, said:

"It’s unclear if they have the votes, but they’re going to move ahead and roll the dice and hope that that pressure ... [is] enough of people on the fence, or naysayers, to vote yes." 4

She quoted a statement by President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who said that the president wants a vote the next day, Friday MAR-24, and that President Trump will be moving on to other matters after the vote regardless of the vote's outcome.

She continued:

"That is an ultimatum that the White House is giving their fellow Republicans in the House, trying to push this along." 4

Bash also said that she had spoken to President Trump's top aid, Steve Bannon, who said:

"... the president wants a vote tomorrow, there will be a vote tomorrow, and ... he’s confident he will be successful at the end of the day." 4

Earlier in the month, during MAR-06, Charles Krauthammer -- an American syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and, formerly an active physician -- had appeared on Fox News' "Special Report." Carlos Garcia, writing for the conservative media group "The Blaze" described Charles Krauthammer as saying:

"In the end, the Republicans are going to have to essentially -- the conservatives, the ones who are more conservative -- are gonna have to fall on their swords. This is the signature event for the new administration. If they were to, in the end, eliminate the entitlement and put it down, I think it would destroy the presidency.

There is nothing they could do right now. They’re gonna try a more serious conservative entitlement, but if they were to ask the administration to give, in the end, to fall on their sword on this, I think it would be disastrous on the part of the conservatives.

They are right now asking for the destruction of the entitlement. I think after what Obama did there is a entitlement that is now accepted. But in the end there’s no way that they’re gonna consolidate a loss of the entitlement." 5

Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist described the difficulties involved in passing a bill to replace Obamacare. She said:

"Well there’s no question that this is an important thing that needs to happen before the rest of the legislative agenda goes through. At the same time, rewriting one-fifth of the economy and doing it under two months time is completely ridiculous. I mean, Democrats had a year to do it, and even they didn’t do a good job with their packaging together of Obamacare.

Anything that involves tax credits is too bulky -- too big -- to not spend that amount of time needed to really come up with some good solutions." 5

When Krauthammer was asked whether the votes are there to pass the bill, he replied:

"Yes, I think in the end they’re gonna have to have the votes. And also they’re going to have to concede the fact that Obama created an entitlement. And they’re now gonna transmute it into something different.

But the entitlement will stay, there’s no way to ratchet it back. And the conservatives are gonna have to swallow that in the end, because otherwise it collapses." 5

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This topic continues with Part 4, at the next page

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Carlos Garcia, "Florida Rep. becomes first Republican to officially announce ‘no’ vote on Obamacare replacement bill," The Blaze, 2017-MAR-14, http://www.theblaze.com/
  2. Rachael Bade, et al., "Ryan, Pence race to salvage Obamacare repeal amid GOP dissent," Politico, 2017-MAR-16, Politico, 2017-MAR-14, at: http://www.politico.com/
  3. Jennifer Haberkorn, "Obamacare's little secret. Meet the most important person you don't know," Politico, 2017-MAR-14, at: http://www.politico.com/
  4. Carlos Garcia, "Trump gives Freedom Caucus an ultimatum on replace bill," The Blaze, 2017-MAR-23, at: http://www.theblaze.com/news/
  5. Carlos Garcia, "Charles Krauthammer says Obamacare repeal entitlement could ‘destroy’ Trump’s presidency," The Blaze, 2017-MAR-06, at: http://www.theblaze.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-MAR-24
Latest update: 2017-MAR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson
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