First, it looked like there was no hope for the GOP’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Then, at the last minute, it seemed as though Trump and Paul Ryan would pull victory out of defeat and bring the conservative House Freedom Caucus on board.
Those hopes came crashing down, however, when Ryan pulled the bill, unable to get moderates and conservatives to agree on a single replacement plan.
Since then, we’ve heard a new story every week. First, we hear that the White House is ready to move on and let whatever happens to Obamacare happen. Then, we hear that Republicans are feeling the heat from their constituents and that they’re planning to come back to the table.
This week, the news is just as divided and confusing as ever. On the one hand, we have Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows saying that a deal is imminent.
“We’re very close. The biggest thing for all of us is we want to make sure we don’t just have repeal, but we have a replacement that drives down insurance premiums,” Meadows said in a radio interview this week. “It’s our encouragement to have a vote as soon as we possibly can, even perhaps before we return back to DC in 13 days.”
On the other hand, you have Republicans like Rep. Patrick McHenry, who say that the compromises that would be needed to bring the Freedom Caucus on board would make it impossible for him to support the bill. McHenry and other moderate Republicans now find themselves defending aspects of Obamacare after years of calling it the worst law to have ever hit the American landscape.
McHenry said Wednesday that it was a “bridge too far” for some Republicans to accept a Freedom Caucus proposal that would give states the ability to waive coverage protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
“My family history is really bad, and so my understanding of the impact of insurance regs are real,” he said. “I’m a conservative, so I understand the impact of regulation, but also the impact of really bad practices in the insurance marketplace prior to the ACA passing. There are a lot of provisions that I’ve campaigned on for four election cycles that are part of the law now that I want to preserve.”
It’s still hard to see how the far-right of the party in Congress can come together with the middle and find a plan that pleases everyone. These guys are still far, far apart on the specifics of healthcare repeal. We’re glad to hear some optimism from Meadows and others, but unfortunately we’re not seeing much reason for it.