In light of the sudden push back from, well, everybody, Senate leadership has pushed back the vote in an attempt to shore up votes for the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Most likely this means that said leadership will use the 200 Billion shortfall within the bill to fund specific amendments from moderates and conservatives stalwarts, in an attempt to get to 50 votes. Whether that will happen is, frankly, still up in the air.
This does not mean the bill is defeated by any measure, and it’s good that the Democrats recognize that and maintain plans to continually block this bill as best they can in an attempt to kill it. Additionally groups such as Indivisible, Emily’s List and others are making plans to protest both now and if possible during the July Break to prevent this bill moving forward.
Right now my money’s on Heller playing it safe to maintain his seat in the Senate, and Maine Senator Susan Collins and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only pro-choice Republican Senators, defending Planned Parenthood being the major reasons for a possible failed bill. While it’s possible Heller, from Nevada, could be swayed, and Collins and Murkowski could side with the bill in exchange for funding Planned Parenthood, said amendments would most likely push conservatives like Cruz, Lee and Paul to vote against the bill in turn.
Or McConnell will swing the vote. It could still happen you know.
The Atlantic: Senate Democrats don’t think the Bill is Dead
So, I’ve just read a delightful little piece from Vox’s Ezra Klein regarding the potential future of a single payer system. Basically it amounts to this: if the Republicans push through the AHCA they may very well pave the way for a medicare for all program.
Why would that happen? Well firstly because the AHCA, based off what we know from the house, will cause millions of people to lose healthcare, healthcare costs to skyrocket, and inevitably massive electoral changes because of that. Secondly, Obamacare, for all it’s successes was also fairly flawed (fixable but flawed), and due to the way it passed and what it attempted to achieve many members of the democratic congress may will prefer to go for the simpler system that people are now openly advocating for.
Let me explain: when Obama and his congress were trying to pass the Affordable Care Act they did two things, and had to deal with a third (you may have noticed, I like lists):
- Worked with insurers to create a system they could support in a public private marketplace. The insurers then undercut the Obama administration by screwing up the pricing and participation, and then failing to stand up to republicans as we speak (primarily so they can regain control over costs and types of insurance they provide, and therefore make more money)
- The Dems worked with the Republicans to try and create a bipartisan bill, mostly to be polite. They didn’t have too, but instead they brought them in, allowed a number of amendments to be added and removed and did their level best to involve and respect the Republican view of healthcare. In turn the Republicans turned their backs on the arrangement and opposed the bill as best they could then.
- Past that, the Republican party then opposed and demonized the ACA for the next seven years, and used it to sweep themselves into office, rather than work to make it an effective bill for their constituents. Because Obama, or something.
So, basically despite their best attempts, the Dems were opposed an obstructed from making an incrementalist healthcare program work because the Republicans were basically being a bunch of dicks. So this time they might not even bother, nor might they need to, consult them in anyway and just pass single payer health care. If they can sweep the house, get the senate, which might well be possible, on a healthcare platform there is every chance they could pass such a bill. And since it would fundamentally be ‘better medicare’ people would be more open and accepting and most importantly understanding of the bill, Insurers wouldn’t be able to get in the way and Republicans would have a much harder time attacking the program.
Best of all the Democrats are openly and actively talking about this, not just the hopefuls but the moderates. They’ve seen incrementalism fail despite their best efforts, and now they have momentum. This could actually work.
So hey, silver lining for American healthcare. Maybe.
Vox: Republicans are About to Make Medicaid for All Much More Likely