July 25, 2017

The death of the death of #Obamacare? (newly updated)

The Turtle loses a round
A week ago, that seemed to be the case.

The House, after one failure, narrowly passed its version of Trumpcare late this spring.

Then, on to the Senate.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell figured he could use reconciliation rules to get a simple majority to pass something.

Wrong.

Hardcore faux libertarian Rand Paul and moderate (for the GOP, it's still relative) Susan Collins both said they couldn't vote for the Turtle's soup. Pretty soon others, like Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito and even Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, along with Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, started raising more stinks.

So the Turtle did a crab crawl.

He then came out with the Turtle Two-Step of "repeal now, replace later."

But that is also now dead.

Selected members of the aforementioned specifically said they refused to buy a pig, or a turtle, in a poke. Surely others felt the same way.

Meanwhile, Donald Duck, the Trumpcare original snake-oil peddler, pulled the floor out from under the Turtle with a "let Obamacare fail" tack.

But, that still didn't stop the Turtle.

And the Turtle still wants to do something. He scheduled ANOTHER vote this week, even though people as high ranking as Senate No. 2 John Cornyn claim they still don't know what they're going to vote on. Per John Thune at the last link, it sounds like that's deliberate. Basically, it sounds like the Senate will be asked to give the Turtle a blank check.

And the Turtle is peddling a blank check because there's cheating like hell on Senate reconciliation rules on his omnibus pig in a poke. Parts of the cheat the Senate parliamentarian ruled out of bounds included an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and an attempt to let insurers peddle Ted Cruz-style junk policies.

Collins and Murkowski were the only two GOPers to refuse to buy the first half of the pig-in-a-poke; the Senate voted 50-50 to approve a motion to debate the actual, still-unidentified, pig-in-a-poke, with Vice President Mike Pence then breaking the tie.

That said, Capito and others "rallied" to help put a marker on the Turtle's actual bill. The vote to override the parliamentarian and let Mitch go full-speed with selling the pig-in-a-poke died 43-57.

And, July 26, the new attempt at "repeal now, replace later" also failed. That also was by 43-57; per the NYT live vote tracker, "partial repeal and replace" failed 45-55.

But, knowing the zombie-like antics of McConnell, who, like John Randolph of Roanoke's description of President Martin Van Buren, "rows to his object with muffled oars," I still wouldn't call Trumpcare dead.

Indeed, the live vote tracker says an allegedly, and I don't think that word can be stressed enough, final vote, is scheduled for later this week.

It's like McConnell is trying half a dozen options, seeing which loses by the smallest margin, with plans of then trying to force that one option down recalcitrant senators' throats.

The latest version of that is what John Cornyn et al started calling "skinny repeal" on July 27. It would keep Dear Leader's surtaxes in place, while still calling on wingers to defy the parliamentarian and defund Planned Parenthood. That seemingly reflects what I said just above, per Politico. The Turtle has essentially been running trial balloon votes to see just what might have a chance of passage.

Of course, this itself is hypocrisy. This is ultimately just an attempt to have something to run through the reconciliation process (perhaps parliamentarian be damned) and send it back to the House. Politico appears to confirm this is the skinny of skinny repeal.

You know, kind of like how Obamacare itself was passed after Ted Kennedy died.

And, surprisingly, the Schmuck Talk express joined Murkowski and Collins in killing this. Heller, Capito et al went AWOL on any alleged principles and joined the Turtle. McCain voted no because he wanted a fatter repeal, while lying about Obamacare's alleged "collapse."

==

Of course, half the "fun" of this, in the earlier fails especially, was real fun — watching the GOP fallout. Until the latest news.

(The other half isn't so fun — it means being stuck with a semi-crappy Obamacare rather than the somewhat better option of a truly improved O-care, let alone single payer. Anyway, I digress.)

First up, sotto voce but getting louder, will be intra-Senate sniping. I'm sure that will only increase after the July 25 fail.

House-Senate GOP friendly fire will come next, with strongly conservative, but not quite Tea Party, House GOPers, not appreciative of being hung out to dry.

After that, since we're only halfway through 2017, will come threats or actualities of tea partiers primarying senators.

However, there's just one problem for the tea sippers.

None of the above senators is up for re-election in 2018.

But, most of them ARE hypocrites, given their 2015 vote for a repeal now, replace later bill. Collins is the one exception.

And, even if THIS does fail?

Don't declare Obamacare magically resurrected.

Moran still wants to replace it.

That said, he wants an actually open Senate process. And it seems clear that he wants nothing to do with Havana Ted Cruz's junk-bonds level insurance offerings as part of that.

There is little way, though, that a truly improved Obamacare would come out of that. Senate Dems wouldn't play ball without further wheelings, and while the Turtle isn't that much of an ideologue, he might not play ball.

Also, in all of this, do NOT believe that insurers like Blue Cross / Blue Shield are your friend. They're not. They're still bloodsucking vampires, just with more money for their hypocrisy under Obamacare.

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