The Open Thread for March 8, 2017

House Republicans finally released their Obamacare replacement bill and President Trump even took ownership by referring to it as “our” bill in an early morning tweet.

But Republicans are far from unified.  Conservatives are already calling the bill “Obamacare lite” because it essentially keeps the Affordable Care Act’s basic framework. Several members of the House Freedom Caucus have already said they cannot vote for this bill. They’re concerned that if and when Democrats regain power, they can easily modify the law again to make it more like the original law.   Moderate Republicans are uncomfortable that it phases out Medicaid expansion. Four Republican senators have already sent a letter to Senator Majority Leader demanding the protection of the Medicaid expansion.

The GOP’s lack of transparency may backfire.  They’re pushing the bill into committee markup tomorrow without hearings and without even letting the Congressional Budget Office examine the bill’s implications. A key complaint Republicans had in 2010 was that Democrats jammed the bill through Congress unfairly. Republicans aren’t even saying how they’ll pay for the bill.

First Read points out a more fundamental obstacle:

It contradicts Trump’s central economic message: One of President Trump’s most powerful messages — especially in places in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — is that the little guy is getting screwed over by the big guy. But here is exactly how Democrats are going to attack the House GOP plan: It gives a big tax break to the wealthy (by eliminating taxes that Obamacare imposed to pay for the 2010 law), and it will cover fewer Americans (by as many as 15 million, per one estimate).

Ezra Klein concurs:

In reality, what I think we’re seeing here is Republicans trying desperately to come up with something that would allow them to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is a compromise of a compromise of a compromise aimed at fulfilling that promise. But “repeal and replace” is a political slogan, not a policy goal. This is a lot of political pain to endure for a bill that won’t improve many peoples’ lives, but will badly hurt millions.

That said, this is the GOP’s last chance to follow through on their promise to repeal Obamacare.

As First Read suggests, “If Republicans can’t do it now — in control of the White House and Congress, and after seven years of promising to overhaul — then they’ll never do it. And that could be a powerfully motivating force.”

Politico on the toughest job in Washington: “When President Donald Trump floats wild and evidence-free conspiracy theories — of massive voter fraud and illegal wire taps ordered by his predecessor — he typically does so from the relative safety of his phone’s keypad, sometimes while weekending at his seaside Mar-a-Lago resort. It is his beleaguered White House advisers who are then forced into the bright media spotlight to defend him, however tenuously connected Trump’s beliefs are to the truth, leaving them often twisted into rhetorical pretzels or twisting in the wind.”




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9 comments on “The Open Thread for March 8, 2017

  1. Paul Krugman helpfully calls the GOP replacement Obamacare 0.5. It is clear that it is a step back from the version current and gets away from the Tastes Great, Less Filling message.

  2. Donald Trump and Republicans promised their health care plan would cover more people for less money.

    Yep, I’m gonna beat this to death.

  3. The Republicans have already angered an assortment of special interests determined to have their own way, having spurned compromise for several decades now the Republicans find themselves in dire need of some. Even better they did it to themselves with their constant calls to anger and revenge on Obamacare to a base that yearns for blood, even if they suffer for it. I knew they would keep the popular parts of the ACA, but I also knew that they would have to find ways to unite a divided party, and it’s not happening. Perhaps the best version of that old Delaware favorite “what goes around comes around” I’ve seen lately.

    • That is the best, and so typical of Trump supporters.

    • Prop Joe

      I’m sure @MAcatholicmom regularly visits HuffPo, WAPO, and NYT to gather her news

    • Something tells me that MAcatholicmom is the perfect target audience for Facebook Fake News. And also why we laugh when a conservative (with few exceptions) comments on “independent thinking” or “intellectual capacity”.

  4. A reminder of what is still at stake on this Women’s Day:

    Defense attorney Leigh Cutter, however, argued that what happened does not constitute sexual assault.

    “I don’t think she really thinks she was sexually assaulted,” Cutter said of one victim who, on Wednesday, told jurors in excruciating detail how she was sexually assaulted. “She didn’t have to have sex with anyone.”

    How do we know the sex was consensual? According to Cutter’s partner, defense attorney Alan Brown, “This wasn’t their first sexual experience. All these girls were well-experienced.” He argued the women “didn’t even know they were victims until the Texas Rangers told them they were.”

    Perhaps this is because they weren’t aware they were part of what prosecutors call the massive, multi-victim con until the Rangers explained it to them. (Brown reminded the jury that Texas Rangers may seem “heroic,” but aren’t perfect). All of the women who testified had said they believed they were victims of Chapa and Galindo’s scam.

    But that’s now how Brown sees it. “I don’t see a crime here at all,” he said. “There’s a different between what’s wrong and what’s a crime.”

    He indicated that what the women did, “having sex outside of marriage” was wrong, and that the men not being faithful to their wives was wrong. But not criminal.

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