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Why Its Doubtful This Obamacare Replacement Will Become Law

Why Its Doubtful This Obamacare Replacement Will Become Law

The Daily Shot, Ricochet, May 5, 2017

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Republican bill to replace parts of Obamacare. Some are considering this a triumph since the bill was dead not too long ago. It was a close vote of 217-213, with every Democrat opposing the bill and 20 Republicans joining them. (If you’re curious how your congressman voted, you can find that here.) So what changed? Last time around the bill was opposed by conservatives for being too moderate, this time it was opposed by moderates for being too conservative.

But once the yes votes reached 216 votes, Democrats on the House floor began chanting/singing “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” to Republicans. Dems think this vote will end up costing House Republicans the majority. That’s not unreasonable; there are projections that it could cost them dearly.

Wait. Why were Democrats singing a pop song from 48 years ago? Isn’t that a little obscure? (Here’s the link, by the way, because we’re sure it’s in your head now.) Well, folks in Congress have long memories. Republicans chanted/sang the same thing in 1993 when Bill Clinton’s tax bill passed the House. (Back then it was only 24 years old; so as recent as “Whoomp! There It Is” would be today.)

Will it be worth all the trouble? Nobody knows. And by that, we mean nobody knows what’s in this bill. It wasn’t finalized until Wednesday night, when $8 billion was added to fund high-risk pools for states. Is that enough money? Fred Upton, who demanded it, has no idea. But the dump truck full of money was enough for him to support the thing.

That’s not the only gem in this bill. There’s also a specific carve out for New York’s Medicaid program. New York does this horrible thing where counties are on the hook for a big chunk of Medicaid, which is paid for through property taxes. The new bill meddles with the state’s ability to do that. That’s not a bad thing, but the point is that there are special gimmicks and kickbacks written into the legislation. Oh, also the CBO didn’t score it.

So what’s next? It goes to the Senate, right? Well, maybe not. Despite all the sound and fury, Senate Republicans have claimed they aren’t going to vote on this exact bill. Word is that they plan to write their own. Their challenge is to craft something that only needs 51 votes to pass via the reconciliation process … and still be able to get 51 votes.

But in the meantime, for all your friends and relatives on social media who are freaking out about yesterday’s House vote, let them know that it’s highly doubtful that this bill as written will ever become law.