Thursday, January 12, 2017

Senate Republicans move to repeal without replacement

And what came out of their mouths reveal what is in their hearts. Here is the story from Vox.com, Senate Republicans just took a big step toward Obamacare repeal.

Obamacare repeal just took a big step forward. Shortly after 1 am Thursday morning, the Senate voted 51 to 48 along party lines to approve the budget that Republicans want to use to repeal the health care law.

It’s bad news for Obamacare supporters and the 20 million people who rely on it for insurance. But it’s also the first (relatively simple, politically) step in a process to actually repeal the law. [Scriber: Check out the vox.com article for the other steps.]

Here’s what the GOPlins did.

… some of the proposals put forward by Democratic senators that went down to defeat last night:

Allowing 26-year-olds to stay on their insurance: Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin proposed an amendment aimed at protecting the Obamacare provision ensuring that young adults up to 26 could stay on their parents’s plan.
Lowering prescription drug costs: Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar advanced a plan that would have legalized the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada in an attempt to drive down drug prices.
Protecting women’s health amendment: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand proposed an amendment to protect the ACA provisions related to combating gender discrimination, including a measure that ensures women aren’t charged more for their insurance than men because of their gender.
Ensuring rural hospitals stay open: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin had an amendment that was geared at preventing rural hospitals and health care providers from being weakened under repeal. That failed.
Pre-existing condition guarantee: Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey also advocated for an amendment that would have prevented ACA repeal from eliminating the law’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Are these votes a signal for what to expect from Republican replacement?

… Not only did Republicans successfully advance the budget that will be used to dismantle Obamacare — they also did so while also taking very risky votes for their careers, and almost always with the full support of their caucus.

For Senate Democrats, that dynamic simply amplifies the necessity of hanging together — and, they say, makes their job as defenders of the Affordable Care Act that much more vital.

“We can’t underestimate the importance of our role here,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz told me in an interview in the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. “We have to feel the desperation that is out there and internalize what’s going on in people’s lives — people are really fearful for what’s going to happen to this country. We need to feel as desperate as the people we represent.”

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