The Ongoing Fiasco of the GOP Attempt to Repeal/Replace Obamacare

As we saw on Monday, Trump is confused about what is/isn’t in the Republican health care bill — especially whether or not it guarantees coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Today, a couple of Republicans made the situation worse. Strike one:

Republicans usually defend their health-care position with an array of buzzwords like choice, patient-centric, or competition. In a CNN interview, Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, makes the case for Trumpcare in much starker terms: It will free healthy people from having to pay the cost of the sick. “It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy,” explained Brooks. “And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

Basically his argument is that “good” people stay healthy, and so I suppose it is the “bad” people who have pre-existing conditions. Apparently the latter should pay more for their health insurance for not being “good.”

Strike two:

“People can go to the state that they want to live in,” Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) told reporters Tuesday morning when asked if people with pre-existing conditions could be charged much more under the American Health Care Act.

“States have all kinds of different policies and there are disparities among states for many things: driving restrictions, alcohol, whatever,” he continued. “We’re putting choices back in the hands of the states. That’s what Jeffersonian democracy provides for.”

Ahhh…so people who have pre-existing conditions should go live in those (blue) states where people actually care about that kind of thing.

The arguments are absurd. But what both Brooks and Pittenger have in common is that they are both acknowledging that the American Health Care Act (zombie version) does not provide guarantees for coverage of those with pre-existing conditions, at least not the kind of coverage that most people could afford.

Meanwhile, Speaker Paul Ryan is singing a different tune.

So I guess that, according to Republicans, it’s a crapshoot about whether or not you’ll be guaranteed affordable health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition (hint: under this bill, you won’t).

Meanwhile, all of this might be for naught because Republicans still can’t seem to pull together the votes they need to get this mess passed in the House.

In total, 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. At the same time, the list of Republicans who say they’re “undecided” has grown to at least two-dozen. Even several GOP whips tasked with drumming up support for the bill said Monday night they have not yet made up their minds on whether to support the revised American Health Care Act.

Even the House GOP whips aren’t sure how they’ve going to vote on this thing. As Trump would say, Sad!

Finally, Minority Leader Pelosi might have thrown yet another monkey wrench into this fiasco of a process.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has told Pelosi’s office a score of the GOP’s repeal-and-replace plan is not coming this week, despite hopes from the White House that it could happen this week.

“Republicans are clearly terrified of their Members and the American people seeing the full consequences of their plan to gut critical protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday.

“Now, House Republicans are hoping to bring the latest version of Trumpcare to the Floor before the CBO can reveal its catastrophic impact on millions of American families,” she added.

“The American people have a right to know the full consequences of Trumpcare before their representatives vote on it.”

If Republicans had been smart, they would have ditched this whole idea of repealing/replacing Obamacare after the first iteration failed so spectacularly. But I guess they’ve got to spend their time doing something. Given this performance, I’m not sure any other legislation would have faired better.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .