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Here's What's Happening with the Obamacare Repeal Vote Today

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 25, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 25, 2017 |

We’re not talking about the healthcare vote today as much as we should be because, to be honest, I don’t fully understand what’s happening. No one, it seems, really does, and that includes most of the Republican Senators.

This is the best guidance anyone seems to have, so far, on the vote this afternoon:

What does that mean?

Basically this: They’re going to vote on several motions to proceed in the hopes that one of those bills gets through to the debate stage, at which point, Mitch McConnell apparently believes that he can cobble together a healthcare plan piled with amendments within the 20 hours of debate required.

First, they’re going to vote on that same symbolic Obamacare repeal the Senate and House voted on numerous times under Obama, knowing every time that Obama would veto it. (Trump would not veto it). That’s not expected to get pass the motion to proceed.

Next, they’re going to vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. This is basically the Trumpcare Bill we’re all familiar with. Last week, four Senators came out against it. It’s not expected to pass, either. They’re going to try a couple of versions of that, however. One will include the Portman Amendment (basically, it adds $100 million to Medicaid spending, which is not even close to nearly enough to close the gap) and the Cruz Amendment, which essentially isolates those with preexisting conditions and puts them in a separate pool, which will eventually crumble leaving all of those millions of people without healthcare.

Those aren’t expected to pass, either.

Eventually, they’ll end up with the “skinny repeal,” which is basically just a bill that will eliminate the Obamacare individual and employer mandates, meaning that employers will not be required to provide health insurance and individuals will no longer be required to be covered. (They’ll also eliminate the medical device tax, which is necessary to help pay for healthcare coverage under Obamacare.)

We have no idea if that will pass, but McConnell is gambling that it will. He’s basically telling his people that if they don’t vote for the skinny repeal, then they support Obamacare. That’s not going to work against Susan Collins, who is a hard no on every vote. We don’t really know where the other moderates sit on the skinny repeal vote. Those moderates may vote on the motion to proceed just to see where the debate takes the bill.

If the skinny repeal passes, it will probably get loaded down with amendments, and there will be massive confusion and chaos, and McConnell’s hope is that he can slip something through in the midst of that confusion.

If the employer and public mandates are somehow repealed, it will basically be a slow form of murdering Obamacare. Without those mandates, Obamacare falls apart; the insurance industry collapses, and eventually, it will be tantamount to a repeal without a replacement.

What does that mean? That 32 million people will eventually lose their insurance (including many on employer-based plans), premiums will skyrocket, and the insurance industry will be shaken to its core.

So, that’s what’s happening today.

Call your Senators, and ask them to vote NO on whatever they’re asked to vote on, I guess?

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.