The latest attempt by Senate Republicans to “repeal and replace” Obamacare––the “skinny” plan––failed early this morning on a vote of 49-51.
The deciding vote came from John McCain (AZ), joined by Republican Senators Collins (ME) and Murkowski (AK).
Trying to pass the “skinny” bill was a fool’s errand. How did McConnell think he was going to do any better bringing 240 House Republicans—including the Freedom Caucus—into a process that he could get no more than 45 Republican votes for in his own Senate?
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had earlier said the “skinny” plan was a “half assed” bill whose only purpose was to keep what had been so far a horribly failed process alive—just before he voted for it.
The focus now has to be on what will happen to the failing Obamacare exchange markets.
Will there be a bipartisan effort to shore them up?
I will suggest that there are two pre-conditions for any Congressional bipartisan solution:
- Democrats will have to admit the problems with Obamacare are more than “imperfections”––they will have to admit that Obamacare has been a dismal failure for those who have no choice but to buy their health insurance in the individual health insurance market and make too much money to qualify for a subsidy––40% of American households make more than 400% of the federal poverty level, which is the cutoff point for subsidies.
- Republicans will have to admit that most American households not eligible for Medicare, employer-based health insurance, or the pre-2014 Medicaid program, cannot afford to buy health insurance on their own—even if we had 2013 premium rate levels.
Will Trump make things worse in the Obamacare insurance exchanges?