Trumpcare Is in Trouble After 3 Republicans Voted Against the Bill

Republicans moved the bill to the floor, but the Freedom Caucus still isn’t happy.

Olivier Douliery/CNP/ZUMA

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A group of House Republicans delivered conservatives’ first official rebuke of President Donald Trump’s health care bill Thursday morning, voting against the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. During a House Budget Committee hearing, three members of the conservative Freedom Caucus—Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), David Brat (R-Va.), and Gary Palmer (R-Ala.)—joined every Democrat in voting against moving the legislation to the House floor. However, the rest of the committee’s Republicans supported the bill, and it narrowly passed on a 19-17 vote.

The Freedom Caucus has attacked the repeal bill because it maintains Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion until 2020 and offers refundable tax credits for people who buy insurance on the individual market. It’s hard to know whether the three Freedom Caucus members on the Budget Committee were truly committed to killing the bill; members of Congress frequently cast politically expedient votes when they know a bill will pass regardless of what they do. Still, their opposition spells trouble for the proposal’s prospects when it reaches the full House.

The Freedom Caucus doesn’t have an official membership list, but it reportedly includes roughly 40 GOP members of Congress. If every Democrat opposes Trumpcare, 22 GOP “no” votes would be enough to defeat the bill. That means the Freedom Caucus has plenty of clout to kill the plan if the rest of its members have the same views as Sanford, Brat, and Palmer.

Paul Ryan and the White House seem to recognize this problem and are scrambling to find ways to appease conservatives and modify the bill before it comes to a full House vote. But that could pose another problem: The Freedom Caucus’ complaint is that the bill isn’t conservative enough and that it needs to offer less generous benefits. The Congressional Budget Office already measured the effects of the current bill and found that the GOP plan would insure 24 million fewer people by 2026 than Obamacare. Tinkering with the bill to meet the Freedom Caucus’ demands would likely result in even more people lacking insurance, something that could prompt moderate Republicans to turn against Trumpcare.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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