Health Care Bill Is Dead, But Continues to Shamble Along

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The Republican health care bill can’t pass but won’t die:

With two days left before an 11-day recess and no vote scheduled, House Republican leaders considered last-minute changes to their latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, including at least $8 billion in extra spending to answer the concerns of an influential Republican who had come out against the measure.

….The extra spending could anger the most conservative members of the House, who had recently come around to supporting the bill. Last-minute spending increases and special provisions in 2010 to win over Senate Democrats to the Affordable Care Act had stoked outrage among conservatives who fumed at “the Cornhusker kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase.”

Hmmm. Is that $8 billion per year, or $8 billion over ten years?1 Not that it matters very much. This is a minuscule amount either way, and it doesn’t change much of anything. In any case, the basic problem is still around:

Centrists said it didn’t make sense for them to take a potentially career-ending vote on a bill that might not be passed by the Senate, which has 52 Republicans. If the Senate does pass the measure, it is likely to amend it significantly to address the concerns of centrists in that body—and that version, in turn, could be rejected by conservatives back in the House.

And this:

GOP Reps. Ken Calvert of Corona and Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa are among those who supported the original version of the bill but have backed away from the amended version. Another, Rep. Doug LaMalfa of Richvale, remained undecided. “That’s part of my own internal struggle — if we do something and it’s still harmful to a lot of folks,” La Malfa said.

Yeah, that’s a struggle all right. But President Trump is blissfully unaware of any of this:

“How’s health care coming, folks? How’s it doing? All right. We’re moving along? All right. I think it’s time now, right? Right?” he said after name-checking some lawmakers in attendance as he presented the U.S. Air Force Academy football team with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy at the White House.

It must be nice to be so invincibly ignorant. Nice for Trump, anyway.

1Oh hell. It’s neither one. It’s $8 billion over five years. Where did that come from? Anyway, that’s $1.6 billion per year, which is so tiny I don’t understand why anyone would even consider hinging their vote on this.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate