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Thursday, January 12, 2017

20, 30 million tops. Depending on the breaks.

by digby

No, I'm not talking about nuclear war this time even though I'm quoting Strangelove. I'm talking about the Obamacare repeal obsession.

Here's the latest from the Huffington Post:

House Republicans have successfully voted to repeal parts of Obamacare ― or the entire thing ― more than 60 times in the last six years. But now that lawmakers could actually be making law, there’s sudden apprehension in parts of the GOP conference.

Republicans generally agree they want the 2010 health care law gone. It’s just that many disagree over what they should replace it with.

Now conservatives and some GOP moderates, concerned that Republicans don’t have a clear plan on how they’ll move forward with an Obamacare alternative, could team up later this week to take down the first real vote in the House to set up a repeal of the law.

Even if lawmakers do, as expected, get behind this vote setting up an Obamacare repeal on Friday, there are already signs that some Republicans may eventually withhold support on a final repeal vote until GOP leadership releases details of an alternative.

Those concerns would be moot in President-elect Donald Trump’s version of the Obamacare repeal and replace, where those actions would happen “essentially simultaneously.” (“Most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day ― could be the same hour,” Trump said Wednesday, evidently believing in an alternate universe where Congress works like that.)

Here in the real world, where Senate action on any bill generally takes a week and an Obamacare replacement could take months or even years, GOP leaders are trying to convince members to trust that Republicans will be able to come up with something that won’t come back to haunt them. Some members, however, are reluctant to take that leap of faith.

A last-minute whip operation from Freedom Caucus hard-liners has raised new questions about the first vote on Friday. The budget resolution, acting as a vehicle for an Obamacare repeal, advanced out of the Senate early Thursday morning and is supposed to get a vote in the House on Friday.

After the evening votes, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) met with Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), the co-chairman of the moderate GOP Tuesday Group, who said this week that he has “reservations” about voting for a repeal. According to Meadows, he and Dent discussed how many moderates might vote against the resolution to set up a fast-track for an Obamacare repeal.

The so-called "moderates" are just standard right wingers who aren't quite as crazy as the Freedom Caucus and Donald Trump. They recognize that throwing 20 million people to the curb might not end up being so popular and they think they should take the time to think the whole thing through. (Of course, they've been voting to repeal Obamacare for five years and never managed to come up with an alternative so that says something about the possibilities.)

And they aren't the only ones with issues:

Jordan was taking the temperature of conservatives, and there look to be more than a few far-right Republicans who will vote no ― either out of concern over the resolution deeming the addition of more than $9 trillion in new debt as “appropriate” or because leadership has offered few details about a replacement.

Jordan noted that some Republicans are pushing to keep the Obamacare taxes in place. Others are pushing for a longer delay to the date of enactment. And still others are trying to keep Planned Parenthood funding in the health care law. These are all ideas that are anathema to conservatives.

“There are some of our Freedom Caucus guys who are willing to say, ‘Let’s give them a chance to bring something conservative in a replacement,’” Meadows said. “There are some who say, ‘We know what’s coming.’”
Even if the vote on Friday goes smoothly, this would just be the first in a series of votes to repeal and replace Obamacare. In some ways, this should be the easiest vote. Republicans are merely setting up the process to begin a repeal. But as they grapple with more details about a replacement, and as leadership tries to push a repeal through before Republicans ever start debating a replacement ― or even hold a hearing on the impact of getting rid of Obamacare ― a once-easy messaging vote might prove more difficult than leaders have let on.

This is a very messy fight. And while there's no doubt they truly want to do it, they do not have any idea how to tell the 20 million people who will lose their health insurance that they're out of luck. And now they have Trump breathing down their necks telling them they have to come up with a replacement plan that's better and cheaper and will make American great again at the same time as the repeal or he's going to be P.O'd.

If he had a clue about anything he'd know it's impossible but he doesn't as has no intention of learning. He considers it their job to make his promises, no matter how stupid, a reality. And he wants it done NOW, goddamit.

Lay in a supply of your favorite alcoholic libation because you're going to need it.