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U.S. Healthcare

2017-JUL: Republican Plan to
Repeal Obamacare (Without
a Replacement) Fails.

Part 17

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This topic is continued here from the previous page

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2017-JUL-17: Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) is neither dead nor alive:

The bill does not have enough support to proceed. Yet it does not appear to have sufficient opposition to kill it. Senate Democrats are expected to all vote against the bill, if a vote is held. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is recovering from surgery and cannot vote. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Rand Paul (R-KY), and all 48 Democrat Senators are opposed to the bill, presumably because the bill would gut Medicaid, cause tens of millions of Americans to lose healthcare insurance, and would cause tens of thousands more Americans to die preventable deaths yearly. So there are not enough votes to bring the bill to the floor. 2

Meanwhile, President Trump's approval rating on JUL-16, about six months into his presidency, is only 35% -- the lowest of any president in the past 70 years. 3

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2017-JUL-18: Republicans now plan to repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will abandon their repeal and replace legislation and instead seek a full repeal of Obamacare. He said:

"Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care."

President Trump agreed, tweeting:

"Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" 4

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2017-JUL-18: In an unusual move, a bipartisan group of 11 governors entered the fray:

A group consisting of:

  • Five Republicans: John Kasich (OH), Charlie Baker (MA), Larry Hogan (MD), Brian Sandoval (NV), and Phil Scott (VT);

  • Five Democrats: Steve Bullock (MT), John Bel Edwards (LA), John Hickenlooper (CO), Tom Wolfe (PA), and Terry McAuliffe (VA); and

  • One independent: Bill Walker (AK);

released a brief statement rejecting attempts by President Trump and Republican Senators to repeal Obamacare without a replacement bill. They urged Republican, Democratic, and Independent members of Congress to cooperate and improve the existing Affordable Care Act.

The statement said:

"Congress should work to make health insurance more affordable by controlling costs and stabilizing the market, and we are pleased to see a growing number of senators stand up for this approach. The Senate should immediately reject efforts to ‘repeal’ the current system and replace sometime later. This could leave millions of Americans without coverage. * The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets. Going forward, it is critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and we stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans." 5

* Webmaster's opinion:

The Governor's joint statement would have been much more effective if they had added the phrase: "and cause the needless and avoidable deaths of many tens of thousands of additional Americans each year" to the end of their second sentence.

Governor Tom Wolfe (D-PA) issued his own statement, saying that the current effort in the Senate to repeal Obamacare at some time in the future without having a replacement decided upon would be:

"... reckless and it will hurt Pennsylvania families. Washington must come together in bipartisan fashion to work towards greater stability in the individual insurance market. Governors of both parties are ready and willing to be a part of a new process that listens and takes input from diverse viewpoints. It is time to nix plans to cut Medicaid and consumer protections, and to focus on making improvements to the existing law to protect coverage for Pennsylvanians and lower costs for families and seniors." 5

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2017-JUL-19: Commentator Charles Krauthammer said that the plan to vote on a “clean repeal” of Obamacare would be “suicidal.”

Commenting on Fox News, he said:

"Look, I think the chances of a resurrection here are rather small. If it succeeded, it would be the most spectacular since Lazarus, and I’m not sure that these people have divine powers.

The problem is that they chose an issue on which inherently there are huge divisions among Republicans. ... They made a strategic error in doing this. And in part, it was for tactical reasons. They wanted to repeal heath care reform so that they could get a new, better bottom line to work with in doing tax reform.”

So it was kind of an inside baseball parliamentary maneuver. They ran into the problem that after seven years what they were united on seven years ago was different because people have become accustomed to the new entitlement and that’s why ... [the Republicans are] split [now].

I think they have a good chance of working out something on tax reform. That’s their strength. That’s what I would have recommended they start with. I think the best thing to do now, ironically, is to walk away.

I think it’s going to be suicidal to go ahead with the vote next week. It would be a repudiation.

It’s going to be a vote [on whether] to proceed, meaning that there are Republicans who will vote against it. ... There will be enough, I think, to shoot it down ... [and say] we’re done with this. Well, you don’t have to have it officially on the record, just walk away and go immediately to something -- perhaps even radical -- on tax reform." 6

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2017-JUL-19: Imaginary satire published about a waste management company:

The Nevada County Scooper (NC Scooper) is a web site specializing in satire. Their "Terms and Condition" page states:

"This website is satirical in scope and intent. It provides social criticism in a satirical, sometimes news-genre setting. We are not a fake news site, but rather an entertainment one."

On JUL-19, they published an article discussing a major waste management company's plan to offset one result of Trumpcare. 7 The company is Waste Management whose logo is "WM." The satire said that WM realized that, if Trumpcare becomes law, that so many millions of people will lose their health care, that existing mortuary services will be overwhelmed with the number of deaths. Scooper's article stated, satirically, that WM's plan was to offer dead body pickup at curbside.

The author claimed that they had interviewed "Gus" an embalmer at a local mortuary. He allegedly said:

"With millions of Americans about to lose health coverage I think there will be plenty of dead bodies for everyone. Not everyone has the money for fancy funerals, some families just need their dead relatives out of the house in a timely fashion and I think Waste Management has the resources to make that happen."

Their fictitious plan would involve weekly pickup of corpses. All the family needs to do is to is to buy a body bag from WM, use it to wrap up the dead body, and dump it by the road in front of their house. For an increased fee, WM would pick up a corpse on the same day and thus minimize the discomfort of having a rotting corpse in the house or on the lawn.

Apparently, the website was widely circulated on social media as if it was accurate. Snopes.com, a fact checking web site, picked up the story, and declared it "False." 8

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2017-JUL-22: Current status of health care revisions:

President Trump tweeted:

"ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!"

and

"The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!"

Justin Haskins, writing for The Blaze, said:

"Trump’s comments come at the end of a week in which the Republicans’ latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was effectively killed by Republican Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT). ... the Senate leadership’s back-up plan — a repeal of Obamacare without an immediate replacement plan — was shot down by several moderate Republicans." 9,10

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) was allegedly still planning to hold a vote during the week of JUL-23 that will at least firm up who among the Republicans are opposed to health care changes. 9

Reviewing the various bills that are being considered, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that they would cause between 22 and 32 million people to lose their health insurance if implemented. This will cause them to have less access to health care and/or going into debt to obtain the care that they need. Hundreds of thousands would needlessly die each decade.

Jonathan Cohn, writing for the Huffington Post, said:

"Each of the bills under consideration would drain more than $1 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid and tax credits for people who buy private insurance on their own. ..."

"But apparently neither data or common sense is enough to stop Trump administration officials, Senate leaders, and their outside allies from making their case. Publicly and privately, they continue to say repeal wouldn’t cause a lot of pain."

"... most people think health insurance is pretty important. And now that the Affordable Care Act has made coverage more available, they don’t want to give it up, particularly if Republicans aren’t proposing to put something better in its place. That is probably why GOP leaders keep insisting their bills won’t leave millions struggling to pay for medical care, when that is exactly what those proposals would do." 11

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2017-JUL-24: Democrats consider single-payer health care "on the table:"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Democrats will consider supporting a “single-payer” health care system in the near future. He was speaking on ABC's program "This Week." Referring to the party's new economic agenda, he said:

"We’re going to look at broader things … single-payer is one of them. Many things are on the table."

In the past, only a few leading senators have promoted single-payer system, including Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). However, in recent weeks, Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and former Vice President Al Gore have come on board. 12

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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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. Free image of a hand X-ray, by "com329329," downloaded from Pixabay.com
  2. "The Senate Health Care Bill Is Still Not Dead," Huffington Post, 2017-JUL-17. at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  3. Gary Langer, "6 months in, a record low for Trump, with troubles from Russia to health care (POLL)," ABC News, 2017-JUL-16, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  4. Carlos Garcia, "Mitch McConnell says Senate will vote on full repeal after bill failure," The Blaze, 2017-JUL-18, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
  5. "Governor Wolf, 10 Bipartisan Governors Call on D.C. to Fix Insurance Markets," Governor of Pennsylvania, 2017-JUL-18, at: https://www.governor.pa.gov/
  6. Carlos Garcia, "Krauthammer says a vote on clean repeal would be ‘suicidal’ — here’s why," The Blaze, 2017-JUL-20, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
  7. Larry Ryder, "Waste Management To Offer Dead Body Pickup Service In Response To Proposed Health Care Changes," Nevada County Scooper,
  8. "Waste Management to Offer Dead Body Pickup Service in Response to Proposed Health Care Changes?," Snopes, 2017-JUL-23, at: http://www.snopes.com/
  9. Justin Haskins, "Trump turns up the heat on Senate Republicans over health care bill " The Blaze, 2017-JUL-20, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
  10. Anna Giaritelli, "Trump cracks the whip on healthcare: '52 Republican senators' must act," Washington Examiner, 2017-JUL-22, at: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/
  11. Jonathan Cohn, "GOP Leaders Still Insisting Repeal Won't Take Health Care Away From Millions," Huffington Post, 2017-JUL-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/
  12. Chris Enloe, "Chuck Schumer: Single-payer health care ‘on the table’ for Democrats," The Blaze, 2017-JUL-24, at: http://www.theblaze.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted on: 2017-JUL-31
Latest update: 2017-SEP-24
Author: B.A. Robinson
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