By Dani Graham
With the narrowest of margins, the House of Representatives passed the Republican’s healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), aka Trumpcare. Needing 216 “yays” the bill passed 217-213 with 20 Republicans voting against it.
For years Republicans complained about how Obamacare was “rammed” through without knowing what was in it and without a single Republican vote. While campaigning Republicans condemned Democrats for the underhanded tactics they used to pass their healthcare bill. This went a long way in securing major Republican victories in the last three elections.
So what do the Republicans do now that they have the majority in the House and Senate along with the White House? They use the same underhanded tactics to pass their own healthcare bill. Today it was the Republicans who did the ramming by passing Trumpcare without knowing what was in it and without a single Democrat vote.
In a play, right out of the Democrat handbook Republicans passed the AHCA without any participation by the American public and before the Congressional Budget Office had an opportunity to analyze the bill. This means no one knows how much it will cost or the impact it will have on Americans.
What we do know is that they threw in an additional $8 billion dollars to help cover the cost of preexisting conditions over the next 5 years. We also know that the bill creates an entirely new entitlement program with exorbitant tax credits to offset the cost of purchasing insurance.
In essence, the only way the party of “limited government” was able to get the votes needed to pass their healthcare bill was by GROWING the government.
The GOP failed to bring Trumpcare to a vote last month due to a clear lack of support. They began to make progress toward getting the votes needed to pass with the addition of the MacArthur amendment yet they still came up short.
Over the last few days, many representatives who planned to vote “no” were called to have a private meeting with President Trump. As they emerged from their meeting with the President a number of them stunningly changed their votes in support of the bill. Oh to have been a fly on that wall.
At the moment they reached the 216 votes needed to pass the House Democrats sang out in unison “Nah Nah Nah Nah, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye”. A performance which taunted Republicans about how their support for this legislation may have political consequences. It may have been a juvenile way to relay a message, however, Republicans may want to heed their warning given the Democrats personal experience. It was their support of Obamacare which led to crushing defeats in the elections that followed.
Republicans, on the other hand, are celebrating this as a victory even with little enthusiasm or support from their own voting base.
On Twitter Reince Priebus called the vote a “big win for Americans” while the House Freedom Caucus who successfully derailed the bill last month had this to say:
Due to the hard work of conservatives, AHCA allows states the ability to undo most costly aspects of Ocare & bring down costs for Americans
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) May 4, 2017
To be clear, the promise that Republicans made to the American people was a “full repeal” of Obamacare not a partial repeal with the government still in control of Americans’ healthcare. Breaking this promise most certainly will have an impact in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Not all Republicans are celebrating. In a statement released by Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, he explains why he didn’t support the bill, “As recently as a year ago, Republicans argued that mandates were unconstitutional, bailouts were immoral, and subsidies would bankrupt our country. Today, however, the House voted for a healthcare bill that makes these objectionable measures permanent.” He concluded with “I voted against the bill not because it’s imperfect, but because it’s not good.”
The bill will now move on to the Senate where it faces a much tougher path to passage since it can only afford to lose two votes. It is expected to receive significant changes in order for it to have any chance to pass and become law. It didn’t take long for some members of the Senate to proclaim that they would be rejecting the House bill before writing their own version. With more moderates than Conservatives in the Senate expect the bill to be pulled even further to the left.
No matter what “improvements” are made in the Senate if the bill they “rewrite” does not include a full repeal of Obamacare than it will continue to be government controlled socialized medicine. If such a bill succeeds then it can potentially end the individual insurance market for good and with it any chance of getting government out of our healthcare.
This would be the ultimate betrayal by Republicans to their supporters and they will have to live with the consequences.