Well, the Democrats chanted “Nah, nah, nah nah. Hey, hey …Goodbye.” A cheeky thing to do considering Speaker Paul Ryan scored a victory today that has eluded House Republicans for 7 years and especially since Trump’s inauguration emboldened them. But I think the Dems were looking ahead to 2018. Today, they might be fastened on the Republicans that just voted in the Upton amendment iteration of the misnamed American Health Care Act (TrumpRyanCare), but I’d include members who voted No today but Yes to taking the ACA down more than 60 times. I see you, Leonard Lance. Ryan cast a yes vote, rare for the Speaker to cast a vote on legislation. That’s how close this was.
Many of the Tuesday Group of self-described GOP “moderates” mostly voted No. That included NJ’s Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) and Chris Smith (Nj-4). But Rodney Frelinghuysen voted Yes. Many members of the farther-right Freedom Caucus came to Yes after scoring a provision allowing states to seek a waiver to opt out of many of the protections Obamacare now affords, which Republicans claim drive up insurance premiums and burden families. That waiver carries the name of Tuesday Group co-chair Tom MacArthur (who also voted Yes). But it wasn’t received well by many Tuesday Group members, with talk MacArthur might even be stripped of his leadership position in the informal caucus. Read that as fear that moderates would be blamed if the GOP ‘repeal and replace’ effort failed. And read that as obvious strain between the two caucuses, right and farther-right. All the Upton agreement did – this was what was voted on today – was add $8B to help fund costs for those with pre-existing conditions when – if – the AHCA goes through. Upton’s changes do little to change a dreadful bill and would only cover an additional 76,000 people.
C-sections are pre-existing conditions. My lung disease and irregular heartbeat are. And Mikey’s Type 1 diabetes; he is 4. Women are screwed. Seniors will die faster. This is an attempt to score a victory for the Republican brand and for an inept and chaotic Trump administration. And it comes at your expense.
We know that in recent days Speaker Ryan has put the screws to Frelinghuysen, threatening him with the loss of his chairmanship of the powerful House Appropriation Committee. Frelinghuysen has also, however, heard mightily from his constituents, particularly those organized by NJ 11th for Change and the people who show up every week for Fridays With Frelinghuysen; often stretching around the block and whether he is present or not.
Next this disgrace of public policy legislation goes to the U.S. Senate where there are likely to be significant changes made, if it passes at all. Important that the GOP rushed this vote through today before the Congressional Budget Office ‘scores’ it, congressional speak for the work the non-partisan federal agency will do to determine what the bill will cost and what it will do. They don’t want you to know that before they do their dirty work.
Seriously though, watch this goddamned video (Double-click, very short ad may precede it, just power through).
Also please read Matt’s ‘With Obamacare, or Any Policy, There is No Drawing Board’.