Many Republicans in Congressional leadership are touting their idiotic “repeal and delay” plan as the perfect way to repeal the ACA without kicking millions off their insurance plans. People like Mitch McConnell are already acting like it’s done deal. People like Paul Ryan think things like tax-free health savings accounts are the answer to our healthcare woes. Trump himself has said he wants the repeal to happen as soon as possible. So it should be a foregone conclusion that all of this is happening in the very near future.
Except it might not.
Republicans need 50 votes in the Senate to pass their repeal. They have 52 seats. If they lose three votes, they’ll have 49.
With just 49 votes, the repeal effort fails.
But which three? The truth is that not every Republican is happy with the idea of repealing the law now and working on a replacement later. They’ve had six years to come up with a replacement, as Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) acknowledges. They haven’t done so. The idea that they can now come up with a good replacement before millions lose their healthcare coverage is laughable at best, but really, it’s cold-blooded fuckery.
Corker, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), strongly oppose passing any repeals without simultaneously passing their replacement plan.
These are the three who are likely to derail the repeal effort.
Even better (worse?) is that Corker, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced an amendment to the repeal bill that would push the vote back a month:
Five GOP senators offer an amendment to extend the Obamacare repeal reconciliation deadline by more than a MONTH. pic.twitter.com/8MPlAy50mR
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 9, 2017
That goes directly against Mitch McConnell’s insistence that they’ll repeal the law soon, and then come up with a replacement “rapidly,” which happened over the weekend in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” However, he couldn’t give us anything like a timetable for the replacement, even though he was pressed hard.
Let’s also not forget all the Republican governors who are currently trying to pressure Congress into holding off repealing the ACA. These are governors who’ve seen massive benefits to their states from the Medicaid expansion in the ACA. A full repeal means all states that expanded Medicaid will lose their federal funding for it. Governors, regardless of party, hate that.
Democrats will block repeal efforts as best they can not just because they oppose Republicans, but because what paltry fragments of plans the Republicans do have rob from the poor to give to the rich. For instance, they want to greatly expand the use of health savings accounts, which helps absolutely no one who can’t afford to put any money away for anything (like retirement, their children’s college, their own savings, etc.). Sure, the accounts are tax-free, but they’re a way to force us to pay even more for our healthcare than we already do.
Neither McConnell nor Ryan will be happy with their own turning against them on something they and their handlers insist must be done now, and fuck the people who will end up as collateral damage while they dicker over a full replacement plan. But it’s true that if Corker, Paul and Alexander block the repeal bill because there’s no replacement to go with it, then the effort fails.
Featured image by Drew Angerer via Getty Images