Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Politico — Outlook for Obamacare repeal turns bleak

“But House Republicans and the White House stepped up their efforts to win passage.”

Newest developments on Ryan’s efforts to replace Obamacare. Here’s the latest story as of last night.

“A sense of gloom settled over House Republicans on Tuesday as support for their Obamacare repeal plan seemed to erode even further and members began reckoning with the unthinkable: They may never be able to repeal Obamacare.

“But House GOP leaders and the White House kicked into high gear Tuesday night in a last-ditch effort to save the bill.

“Speaker Paul Ryan and his team began crafting an amendment aimed at assuaging moderates' concerns about how the bill treats people with pre-existing conditions. The language, multiple sources say, is expected to be released Wednesday.

“President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is personally wading in to save the bill, calling members who oppose the legislation to help whip support, two sources told POLITICO. Trump will also huddle with opponents of the bill at the White House Wednesday, the sources said. And insiders are crossing their fingers that he can flip enough to ‘yes’ to push the bill over the finish line.

“Discussions of a new amendment followed a disheartening day for House Republicans. Rank-and-file members increasingly acknowledged the difficult path to passage for their long-stalled bill, the American Health Care Act .”

Robert Reich wrote, yesterday afternoon, concerning the amendment that failed earlier in the day: [Ryan is] trying to assure wavering Republicans that under his latest bill, states that opt out of Obamacare would have to create risk pools for people with pre-existing health problems.

But that’s misleading because his bill doesn’t require states to pick up the tab for these people. The risk pools would still allow insurers to charge exorbitant premiums, co-payments, and deductibles – making it impossible for anyone who’s already sick to afford health insurance. The Center for American Progress estimated today that the latest Republican health care plan falls $200 billion short of sufficiently funding high-risk pools.

Ryan needs 216 votes, but:

(1) Nearly 20 GOP lawmakers, mostly moderate or centrist Republicans worried about sicker Americans paying more for premiums, have now added their names to the “no” column. They come from districts that voted for Hillary in November, and could lose their seats next year. They have got your letters and phone calls, and many of them heard from you in town meetings.

(2) The list of Republicans who say they’re “undecided” has grown to at least two-dozen. Many of them are right-wingers who want to repeal Obamacare, and don’t want to replace it with anything.

(3) Democrats are hanging tough and united against any repeal effort. They also continue to hear from you.

Don’t let your guard down. It’s still possible Ryan can corral the 216 votes. (If Trump knew how to do deals, he’d be able to persuade wavering lawmakers, but he doesn’t and he won’t.)

Outlook for Obamacare repeal turns bleak

By Rachael Bade, Kyle Cheney And John Bresnahan