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Now, was that so hard?

May 5, 2017

Passing something to take the first steps to rescue Obamacare before it goes toes up, that is.

The way the press is going on about the passing of the House version of the AHCA, and depending on the outlet, you’d think that Republicans had either just rescued Earth from a collision course with a giant asteroid, or they ARE the giant asteroid.

OK, OK,  that’s pretty cynical. But it’s kind of how a lot of people feel about the narrow “win”  in the House. Add two more Republican defectors to the 20 that didn’t vote for H.R. 1628, and this would have been another embarrassing loss.

Voting to pass something in the House that we all know isn’t going to look anything like it does now if it ever comes to the floor and is voted on in the Senate just shouldn’t be this big a deal.

It’s called governing.

Granted, Republicans haven’t had much practice doing that lately, so maybe this was the refresher course they needed.

To cut everyone some slack, this one was tough, since it meant that the bill that no Democrat read before they passed it in 2010 was officially being designated a failure.  That causes a lot of angst on the left, and they’ve boo-hooed enough to let us know they don’t like it.

H.R. 1628 certainly didn’t please everyone, but then, compromises seldom do. That’s why some people call compromises an exercise in seeing how much you can afford to lose.

If it gets through the Senate, in any form, that WOULD be a big deal.

Given how much arm twisting and compromising the President had to do just in the House, the only way the bill gets handled quickly in the so-called upper chamber is if it just gets the boot on Day One.

One area of contention for some senators is voter blowback concerning the funding for the high risk pools.  Apparently some voters are upset that they have to help pay for what they term “other people’s bad lifestyle choices,” like obesity and smoking. Apparently the people who don’t pig out or smoke but develop diabetes, cancer, have a birth defect, have arthritis, or lost a limb somehow don’t count.

What they fail to remember is that anyone who had insurance, particularly the young and healthy, were ALREADY paying for anyone who had a pre-existing condition even before Obamacare. It’s called averaging the risk, and insurance companies have done it as long as there has been any kind of insurance.  Why do you think your auto insurance premium goes up, even though you’ve never had a wreck?

And then there is the age discrimination factor.  That one doesn’t sit well with  either side of the aisle. Surviving past 50 shouldn’t come with automatic time in the penalty box.

Democrats have already said it’s DOA with them. Since the bill is being handled under budget reconciliation rules, there is a slim chance it could pass with no support from the minority party, provided that the GOP members don’t cannibalize each other. Since libertarian-minded  Rand Paul is already saying he won’t vote for it, that’s highly unlikely.

That’s obviously where Democrats are going to attack the bill. Some of them have already pointed out areas that they say disqualify it from being handled in the reconciliation process.

One area is that it temporarily denies funds to Planned Parenthood, a sop granted to House Conservatives.  It would have been far better if the House GOP could have kept that out of this bill, leaving it to stand or fall just on its healthcare accessibility and affordability merits. Why give the other team a free talking point?

Another knock is that the final iteration wasn’t studied much more than the legislation it seeks to replace. There are bound to be areas that could come back to bite the House Republicans.

It would have been great if the House could have produced a tightly wound, armor-plated piece of legislation, but the time to do that, after seven years of promises, just wasn’t there.

The danger in that was that nothing would have ever passed, and they would have never gotten to tax reform or infrastructure.

It would be even nicer if Democrats  took the impending collapse of Obamacare seriously, since two more insurers quit, one in Iowa, leaving 90-plus counties in that state with no ACA insurer, and Aetna pulling out of Virginia.

Congress needs to convince Americans that it is working for them, and not just to generate sound bites with which to rake in campaign cash.

We all know Washington doesn’t work that way, so it might behoove anyone who is easily offended not to watch the late night shows for awhile.

From → op-ed

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