The Same People Who Denounced Obamacare Rewrote An Entire Healthcare Bill Overnight
Worried that their Obamacare repeal and replacement bill would not successfully pass the House on Wednesday, the same Republicans who denounced Obamacare continued changing the health care bill into Thursday morning. Having promised a vote by the end of the day on Thursday, Capitol Hill is in a bit of a frenzy as the GOP determines how it can convince enough Congressional members to vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as Trumpcare.
Opposition to the bill comes from both sides of the aisle. Some Republicans, like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, consider the AHCA as "Obamacare Lite," while others, such as Miami Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, refuse to accept the bill because it will leave many older Americans uninsured. And then there are Democratic Congressional members who reject the bill because it erases Obama's progress by taking away Medicaid expansion and defunding Planned Parenthood, for example. And seeing as Trump campaigned with the hefty promise of repealing Obama's legislation, a failure to do so on Thursday could be a blow to the administration that's experienced anything but smooth sailing.
According to an NBC News count, at least 27 Republicans were either on the fence about passing the bill, or in full opposition to it. If more than 22 Republicans decide to vote "no" on this, it will not pass. Herein lies the reason for all of the last-minute changes to the piece of legislation.
This isn't the first time the GOP has proposed changes to the controversial bill. On Monday, it released a set of alterations to try and convince more Republicans and moderates to vote for it. For one, the Party wants to change the way Medicaid is funded by giving the states the ability to require that Medicaid recipients work. Additionally, it would allocate Medicaid funds via a fixed block grants for each state. These changes are intended to appease people like Rand Paul, who thought the bill involved too many government "hand-outs." The legislation would also boost tax credits in response to the fact that many elderly Americans would have to pay more under the AHCA as opposed to under Obamacare. However, this move would also hike up the cost of the AHCA itself.
USA Today also pointed out a curious fact about Thursday: It's the seven-year anniversary of the passing of Obamacare, more formally known as the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have the opportunity to flip history in their favor (and not in the favor of those who favored Obamacare), but whether they can muster the number of votes to do so remains up in the air.