Senate Rejects Repealing, Not Replacing, Obamacare
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
GOP efforts to make America's dysfunctional healthcare system worse continues.
On Tuesday, an amended Trumpcare without CBO scoring was defeated by a 57 - 43 margin - nine GOP senators joining all undemocratic Dems, gutting Medicaid the most contentious issue.
On Wednesday, legislation to repeal, not replace, Obamacare was defeated by a 55 - 45 margin, seven Republicans joining all Dems - even though Congress passed identical legislation in 2015, vetoed by Obama.
What's next is likely trying to get a so-called "skinny bill" passed, eliminating only parts of Obamacare, including unpopular provisions.
As long as three GOP senators defect, passage won't happen. Enough Republican House support for this type legislation is uncertain.
Polls show most Americans oppose House and Senate versions of Trumpcare. GOP leaders press on, trying to fulfill a seven-year promise to repeal and replace the increasingly unaffordable Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Even with control of Congress and the White House, it's no simple task. After passing a motion to debate, two attempts to pass legislation failed.
Passing even modest legislation would be a step in the wrong direction, keeping alive the prospect of more anti-consumer measures to come.
GOP Trumpcare and tax cut schemes aim to transfer enormous more amounts of wealth from ordinary Americans to business and high-net-worth households than already, especially during Obama's tenure.
House and Senate versions of Trumpcare have nothing to do with providing affordable coverage for all Americans, nothing to curb spiraling out-of-control costs, nothing providing "great healthcare…in a much simplified form…much less expensive and much better," as the president promised.
If legislation he favors passes, ordinary Americans will lose out so business and privileged ones can benefit.
That's what congressional Republicans and Trump want enacted. So far they've failed. "Skinny repeal" appears the next option, eliminating two Obamacare provisions - mandating insurance for everyone and requiring employers to offer it, along with ending taxes on medical devices, perhaps eliminating other provisions.
Senate passage of anything would advance things to House and Senate reconciling their two measures by conference committee - aiming for passage and enactment of something to declare partial victory.
Not likely, according to House hardline Freedom Caucus Rep. Mark Meadows, saying "(t)here would not be enough votes to pass it and send it to the president. But to use it as a vehicle to continue negotiations is certainly welcomed."
A so-called "vote-a-rama" is planned for Thursday, perhaps continuing well past midnight or until "people get tired, said GOP Senate whip John Cornyn, a final vote for now planned on Friday.
Unlimited amendments could be proposed by both sides of the isle and voted on - the aim to cobble together something to pass.
According to CBO "skinny" legislation scoring, 15 million Americans would lose coverage in the next year on top of millions uninsured under Obamacare, along with premiums rising substantially.
Trumpcare isn't dead, but it's on life support. The most widely despised legislation in memory refuses to go quietly into the good night - replaced by universal healthcare both parties reject.
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