It makes no sense that Republicans are preparing to hold a vote in the House today on a repeal and replace for Obamacare without having read the bill. The amendments were not in place until last night and a finished version was not made available to members until 8PM. Why would anyone push something this complicated without reading it first.
Obviously Trump is getting pummeled from all sides for his administration’s lack of accomplishments, and needs a victory. It will be impossible for Republicans to explain to voters how they control both houses of Congress and the presidency yet can’t meet their promise to repeal and replace. That being said, take the necessary time and produce a better alternative. Because this is the kind of vote that can haunt members and a presidency right into becoming former elected officials.
Considering the late hour amendments were added to this bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not had an ample opportunity to review and score this piece of legislation, meaning Congress is flying blind. They don’t know how much it will cost, amounts that may be unfunded, or the number of people potentially at risk of losing coverage or having their premiums skyrocket.
The reason for this faux urgency for passage is because Congress will adjourn for the weekend, and Trump and House leadership know the CBO numbers are likely damning, and constituencies will hammer their individual congressional members about voting for this garbage once they return to their home districts. It’s probable Republican “Yes” votes today would switch to “No” once the CBO scores are made public.
What is clear already is the American Health Care Act, the GOP alternative to Obamacare, does not protect citizens from pre-existing conditions. Estimates show $130 billion of funding is available, an extra $8 billion was added yesterday by the Upton Amendment, but this leaves a shortfall of $192 billion.
This puts states with high percentages of residents with pre-existing conditions like Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia, at risk for having constituents being charged more for coverage or dropped into high risk pools, where sufficient funding may run dry. These are all Trump states, and were warned this was coming. If you are an elected official in any of these states and are up for re-election in 2018 be prepared to lose.
It will not help matters that members of Congress and their staffs are exempt under Trumpcare, and will get better coverage offered to them through the government. That doesn’t look good. If this coverage is so wonderful the individuals responsible for passing it should be excited to enroll themselves and their family members in the same plan. Additionally, estimates are leaking out that Trumpcare will cut Medicare payments to states by $880 billion over the next decade. That means anyone who is elderly or has elderly parents needs to be concerned about out-of-pocket costs going up under Trumpcare.
This uneducated vote will leave a stain on those responsible. At stake is 1/6 of the United States economy. Members will be held accountable if this alternative adversely impacts coverage, increases costs, and adds to the deficit.