Quick Takes: Republicans Can’t Get to “Yes” on Obamacare Repeal

* Kevin Drum has a nice run-down of what happens when members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) meet with the guy who hails himself as the ultimate deal-maker.

President agrees to demands.

President Trump agreed to the demands of conservative House Republicans to remove federal requirements that health insurance plans provide a basic set of benefits like maternity care, emergency services, mental health and wellness visits as he struggles to round up enough votes to pass a broad health care overhaul.

HFC: not enough.

Conservative House Republicans rebuffed an offer by President Trump on Thursday to strip a key set of mandates from the nation’s current health-care law, raising doubts about whether House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has the votes to pass the bill.

HFC sets new goalposts.

Conservative lawmakers have asked to eliminate much of [Obamacare’s] Title I, which….bars companies from setting insurance rates based on a person’s sex, medical condition, genetic condition or other factors.

Result:

House leaders postponed a vote Thursday on their plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, as they and President Trump struggled to meet demands of conservative lawmakers who said they could not support the bill.

House Republicans planned to meet behind closed doors later Thursday to figure out their next steps.

* Here’s something John Boehner learned the hard way, but Ryan and Trump don’t seem to understand yet.

* One problem might be who is/isn’t represented in the room for the negotiations. Notice any particular groups that are not represented at the table? The photo reminds me of deals hammered out behind closed doors in the 1950’s.

* Someone who has experience with this kind of thing has some thoughts.

For some of us that is painful because we remember the days when our leaders actually knew what they were doing.

* By the way, CBO actually scored the bill that is not going to be voted on today.

Amid the chaos on Capitol Hill Thursday as GOP leaders failed to muster the votes for their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office released its assessment of the most recent revision of the bill. The CBO had little good news for Republicans: 24 million people would still lose insurance over 10 years under the revised legislation, and it would do far less than the original bill to reduce the federal deficit.

The original bill was slated to reduce the deficit by $337 billion over a decade, but amendments proposed to win over the votes of moderate Republicans nervous about the bill’s impact on their lower-income and elderly constituents would cost the government an additional $186 billion.

Compared to the previous Republican edition, this one spends more but doesn’t cover any more people. It’s hard to see how they’re making progress.

* Because of Donald Trump, some kids were afraid to go to school.

On February 15th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice) officers conducted a raid in Las Cruces, arresting people at a trailer park on the outskirts of town. The raid came a few weeks after President Trump signed two executive orders, signalling his plans to fulfill a campaign promise of cracking down on undocumented immigrants. Rumors spread that there were further raids planned, though none took place. On February 16th, a Thursday, Las Cruces’s public schools saw a sixty-per-cent spike in absences compared to the previous week—twenty-one hundred of the district’s twenty-five thousand students missed school. Two thousand students stayed away again the next day. Attendance returned to normal the following week, which made the two-day rash of absences all the more pronounced. “It was alarming,” Greg Ewing, the district’s superintendent, told me. News of the raid caused such fear in the community that Ewing wrote a letter to parents on the 16th, in English and Spanish, reassuring them that “we do not anticipate any ice activity occurring on school campuses.”

* Finally, this is an interesting addition to the resistance:

In the suburbs of Minneapolis–St Paul, friends gather around a backyard campfire to discuss how to turn their Donald Trump anger into action.

In San Francisco, California, an all-female crew eats Middle Eastern food and reads the constitution.

In Decatur, Georgia, a silver bell gets rung if anyone in the group of mainly suburban moms starts speaking off-topic during their monthly get-togethers.

Political “salons” are popping up in living rooms, bars and backyards in response to the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Some have wine; some have a set agenda; all are scheming how to fight against this presidency.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.