Why Trumpcare died, Rep. McSally’s warped view of healthcare, and more

Cross-posted from skyislandscriber.com

Those of us, those Americans, who walked, sat-in, called, wrote letters, and otherwise pressured our legislators can take some credit for the outcome, Republicans give up on controversial, unpopular health plan, reports Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog).

… The American Health Care Act, a.k.a. “Trumpcare,” has apparently died, but it’s unrealistic to think Republicans will simply give up on this issue and accept the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land. Health care proponents and their allies should remain vigilant, knowing that there are additional rounds to come.

But in the meantime, progressive activists and their allies can take a bow. They helped derail a dreadful and dangerous piece of legislation.

After Trump was elected, many assumed it was a foregone conclusion that the ACA would be destroyed by the new, dominant Republican majority. But as it turned out, the only thing GOP policymakers agreed on was that they hated “Obamacare” – and they had absolutely no idea what to put in its place.

There was some talk today about the White House demanding a vote anyway, getting members on the record about the bill Trump wanted, but there was ultimately no point to the exercise. Holding a vote on a GOP bill that would be killed by GOP votes would’ve needlessly put House Republicans in an awful position.

There’s no single explanation that captures why this fiasco ended this way, and a variety of factors contributed to this humiliating failure. Paul Ryan, for example, wrote a ridiculous piece of legislation behind closed doors, failed spectacularly to get any buy-in from stakeholders, couldn’t think of any substantive defenses, and had even more trouble leading his party’s factions.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, couldn’t be bothered to learn the basics of the debate, made no real effort to sell the plan’s purported merits to the public, and proved to be an abysmal deal-maker.

Republican divisions – there were never any core agreements within the party about why they were even pursuing a health care bill or the purpose of their legislation – are deeper than GOP leaders understood, and there’s been no meaningful effort to resolve them.

But let’s not overlook one of the more important factors: regular ol’ Americans stepped up in a big way, pressured lawmakers not to take their families’ health benefits away, and it made an enormous difference.

I’ll take these four factors in reverse order.

Republican divisions

One of the effects of the wrangling over Ryan’s Ripoff (aka Trumpcare) was to expose the deep rifts within the House Republicans. A new dynamic may be emerging in the House: A right and left flank within the GOP willing to buck leadership, the Washington Post reports. The net effect in the end was to position Reps, both conservative and moderate, against the bill. For example:

[Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio)] made a simple, binary choice about Obamacare: “The American Health Care Act was not a better solution.”

And it was not as bad as some wanted it to be.

[Trent Franks (R-AZ)] remained upset that conservative proposals were left out of the bill because they would have violated Senate budget rules, meaning that the proposal to replace the ACA was nowhere near to his liking.

The president and his negotiations

Riddle: What’s the difference between a closer and a loser?
Answer: the letter C.

Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker write ‘The closer’? The inside story of how Trump tried — and failed — to make a deal on health care in the Washington Post.

Shortly after House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled the Republican health-care plan on March 6, President Trump sat in the Oval Office and queried his advisers: “Is this really a good bill?”

And over the next 18 days, until the bill collapsed in the House on Friday afternoon in a humiliating defeat — the sharpest rebuke yet of Trump’s young presidency and his negotiating skills — the question continued to nag at the president.

Even as he thrust himself and the trappings of his office into selling the health-care bill, Trump peppered his aides again and again with the same concern, usually after watching cable news reports chronicling the setbacks, according to two of his advisers: “Is this really a good bill?”

In the end, the answer was no — in part because the president himself seemed to doubt it.

But Trump’s effort was plagued from the beginning. The bill itself would have violated a number of Trump’s campaign promises, driving up premiums for millions of citizens and throwing millions more off health insurance — including many of the working-class voters who gravitated to his call to “make America great again.” Trump was unsure about the American Health Care Act, though he ultimately dug in for the win, as he put it.

But the closer lost.

Von Ryan’s Express

From Wiki: “Von Ryan’s Express is a World War II adventure film, released in 1965, about a group of Allied prisoners of war who conduct a daring escape by hijacking a freight train and fleeing through German-occupied Italy to Switzerland. It stars Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard, and is based on the novel by David Westheimer. It was directed by Mark Robson. The film changes several aspects of the novel, most notably the ending, which is considerably more upbeat in the book. It became one of Frank Sinatra’s most successful films.”

The film ends with Ryan (Sinatra) being gunned down by the Germans as he is running in an attempt to reach the departing train that is full of the soldiers Ryan helped liberate.

I mean this little story to elicit metaphors in each of your imaginations. You can imagine that the train is a stand-in for the House and neither Ryan ended up in control. (There was quarreling between the Brits and Americans in the movie.) Or you can imagine that the departing train represents a set of policies that Ryan never mastered. In either, Ryan was brought down by forces beyond his control. Play with it. Have fun. And then go get and watch the movie.

But the most important thing underlying the failure of Ryan’s AHCA was not the divisions in the House or Trump’s naiveté. It was the failure of the underlying philosophy writes New Yorker’s John Cassidy in The health-care debacle was a failure of conservatism that Ryan has for so long embraced.

In the coming days and weeks, there will be more … blame shifting, and, in truth, there is plenty of blame to go around. Ryan failed to unify the House Republican caucus. Trump’s staff allowed him to endorse a bill that made a mockery of his campaign pledge to provide health insurance for everybody. And Trump himself blundered into a political fiasco, apparently believing he could win over recalcitrant Republican members of Congress simply by popping over to Capitol Hill.

But this is just politics. The larger lesson here is that conservatism failed and social democracy won. After seven years of fulminating against the Affordable Care Act and promising to replace it with a more free-market-oriented alternative, the House Republicans—who are in the vanguard of the modern conservative movement—failed to come up with a workable and politically viable proposal. Obamacare survived, and that shouldn’t be so surprising. When it comes to health-care policy, there is no workable or politically viable conservative alternative.

Massive resistance derailed the Republican plan

We have not seen anything like it says Rachel Maddow. If you missed her program check it out at the link below.

Massive, nationwide protest changed course of GOP anti-ACA plan. Rachel Maddow looks at how massive, nationwide protest and resistance attached human stories to the consequences of repealing Obamacare and made the Republican legislative plan much more difficult. Duration: 12:50

Remember in November: A last word about Mean Martha

GV News reprinted this Cronkite News story this morning: Obamacare replacement fails; Arizona lawmakers say fight goes on. CD2 Rep. Martha McSally was on record saying she would vote for Ryan’s Ripoff. She has not changed. The ugliness of the so-called replacement has totally escaped her notice, perhaps because it is so over her head. Here is what she had to say.

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Tucson, who had voiced her support for the American Health Care Act after extracting concessions from Republican leaders on tax credits for the elderly and other issues, said that Obamacare “is still failing families in Arizona, and so the mission has not changed.”

“Whatever the legislative vehicle going forward, I will continue to strive towards better healthcare for my constituents,” McSally said in a statement released by her office.

This last Friday I posted The rich get richer and the poor get poorer under GOP’s unhealthy plan in which I quoted the impact stats should Ryan’s bill pass.

A memo from Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry dated March 22 says that if the American Health Care Act is enacted as drafted, it would end Medicaid for 380,000 Arizonans, including 57,000 people in Pima County.

Somehow, I guess, Mean Martha figures that ending health care for 57,000 of her constituents is “better healthcare.”

Remember in November.


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