House ObamaCare replace bill: Too ‘sweetened’ for Senate’s taste
The current passage by the House of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, isn’t sitting too well in the Senate. In fact, the passage took the Senate by surprise, as they still don’t believe the bill actually repeals the law, but is an extension of it.
The Republicans seemed to court the votes of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, securing a last-minute agreement with Rep. Mark Meadows, R -N.C., about what constitutes “essential health benefits” covered in an insurance plan. But that didn’t close the deal, and the GOP snatched the measure off the floor back in March.
In April, there was the addendum on health care risk pools crafted by GOP Reps. Dave Schweikert, Ariz., and Gary Palmer, R-Ala. But that didn’t wrap things up, either. A little later, Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., teamed with Meadows on another amendment. It still didn’t bring things across the finish line. Finally, Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Billy Long, R-Mo., cooked up additional money for risk pools to help cover the sick and poor. And finally, Republicans guided the beleaguered health care plan to passage.
Congressional leaders have long poured these sweeteners onto legislation to induce just the right number of members to vote yes to pass a bill. But all of the sugars and calories mixed into the health care measure almost reached a level of absurdity. They just kept adding things, coming up with a strange legislative concoction.
Some say the bill was just thrown together and added on until they got something which could pass. It doesn’t matter what it was. Just something that could pass, no matter the bizarre outcome.
Thirteen senators are already empaneled as part of a task force to draft their own health care bill.
And senators may crib various provisions from the House measure, which finally made it past the House into the Senate package. And who knows if the Senate can ever cobble something together.
There’s another possibility that the Senate may engineer a different contraption of a health care bill. The Senate bill could be something which resembles a warren of plastic tubes and tunnels — worthy of a hamster habitat in the bedroom of a nine-year-old. But it won’t be much like what they dreamt up in the House.
And for the record, it should be noted that this plan doesn’t actually repeal ObamaCare. It merely revises parts of the law. Republicans were desperate. They argued about ObamaCare for nearly eight years.
Sometimes that’s all you can do on Capitol Hill. Rarely is a bill or the vaunted “process” on a major bill good or pretty. They’re always dressing things up on legislation. That’s why it’s important not to level too much criticism at Republicans, regardless of the parliamentary outcome. Democrats faced the same issues.
But Republicans got a bill together and dragged it to passage on the House floor. Many thought that couldn’t be done. If past is prologue, don’t be so sure Republicans won’t be able to advance health care or an infrastructure bill.