Today, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a repeal and replace of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While this version of the bill had not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the first version of the bill had been estimated to deprive twenty-four million Americans of health insurance. The current version of the law removes the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, and establishes a high-risk pools which are run by states. The $8 billion set aside for these pools is wholly inadequate to cover the same amount of patients with pre-existing conditions that are covered under the current law.
There was no good political reason to do this. While Republicans were swept into power promising to repeal and replace the ACA, the circumstances changed after the election. First, we realized that the Republicans in Congress were materially unable to pass a replacement that guaranteed coverage to the extent that the ACA did. In part thanks to this realization, the Affordable Care Act became more popular than ever. The House is caught in a time warp where 2011 never ended.
Not only it is not 2011, it’s 2018. The Democrats have newfound energy and resolve. Ossoff’s 48% finish in the April primary election in GA-6 should have been a wake-up call, particularly to Republicans who represent purple districts. Moderate Republicans who flipped to support this bill apparently learned nothing from the special election, learned nothing from angry town hall meetings, and learned nothing from what happened to the Democrats who had learned nothing from the same sort of occurrences past 2009.
The bill is not going to go anywhere in the Senate, and this vote will have been for naught. These votes, though, are going to be political death sentences for a number of these Congresspeople. There was no reason to go through with this. They’ve now put the House of Representatives in play for 2018. We have the material now. We have all the material we’ll need to take it back. It’s only a matter of tactics now.
There’s no glory in dying for a lost, unpopular, and villainous cause.