The Senate Republicans finally managed to do it! … Kind of, but not really.
“Do What?” you might ask, but only if you didn’t hear Tuesday’s news.
They managed to actually get a majority vote in favor of moving the repeal of Obamacare to the debate stage. Unfortunately, that is as far as they got. So, as far as I can keep track of after that, one comprehensive bill to repeal and replace Obamacare was voted down with a vote count of 43 to 57, according to an article by the New York Times (1).
It appears that the vote came not too many hours after the vote to approve moving the issue of repealing and replacing Obamacare to the debate stage. I wonder how much debate actually took place before the comprehensive repeal and replacement bill failed. Sometimes I get nervous about hearing the actual debate for fear that I will get so mad at something someone says that I will start foaming at the mouth.
Then the Senate went on to the strategy of trying to pass something called a “skinny repeal.” According to an article on the website CNN Money (2), the main tenets of the “skinny repeal” included the following:
- Elimination of the individual mandate to buy insurance. The bill set the tax penalty at zero, which basically means the mandate would be history.
- Get rid of the employer mandate for eight years. I have to ask here, “Why eight years?” It’s probably just another instance of our “leaders” in government thinking they might have severe withdrawal symptoms if they cannot keep some sort of stranglehold on the people in the country.
- Provide a lot more flexibility to states regarding Obamacare insurance regulations through waivers. However, the overall effect of those waivers appear to be unclear … more about that later.
- De-fund Planned Parenthood and divert that money to Community Health Clinics that would care for a woman’s total health and is not involved in providing abortions.
- Eliminate the medical device tax for three years. Here’s another one that is very tentative in letting go of government control.
- Then finally, increase the contribution limit for Health Savings Accounts.
However, according to a Fox News Politics story (3), in the wee hours of Friday morning (around 2 a.m.), the “skinny repeal” failed to pass by a vote of 51 to 49. I regret to say, and I am sure that those of you reading this already know and may be spitting nails over it, Senator John McCain cast the final vote against it. I am looking into his “reasons.”
I am bitterly disappointed in the Republicans right now, and I agree with much of what Sean Hannity was saying on the radio this afternoon – that the Republicans seem to have abandoned all the vision that we thought they stood for. Now it’s hard to tell what they stand for unless it’s election time and they want votes to stay in power. I was going easy on the Republicans a few months ago when people were attacking them for not having an actual Obamacare Repeal or Repeal and Replacement plan ready to get voted on and go to President Trump’s desk to be signed. However, I am agreeing with many pundits that the blasted Republicans really had seven years to pull a doable plan to repeal and replace Obamacare together, and they really squandered it.
Are they just incompetent … or have they lost all their “guiding principles?”
Sources for further reading: