Now that the Obamacare repeal seems dead, I’m watching the magical moderate makeover of Martha McSally with a witches brew of some amusement and some anger. You might recall that she exhorted her Republican colleagues in the House to “get this fucking thing done”- “this” being the AHCA repeal and replace bill that would have kicked 23 million people off of health insurance. And she then voted for that bill.
Now McSally is riding a different horse. She is part of a supposed “centrist” group in the House working up a way to save Obamacare.
Before proceeding, let me remind you of how one can arrive at a “centrist” group. It’s called averaging. Suppose the group consists of two Republicans, one voting with Trump 51% of the time and the other voting with Trump 49% of the time. The average is a centrist 50%. Now suppose a different group, one Republican voting with Trump 100% of the time and the other voting with Trump 0% of the time. The average is still 50% - (100 + 0)/2. Martha McSally, until recently, was voting 100% Trump (now her record is 97.5%). I see nothing “centrist” about McSally.
Politico.com reports on Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill.
The [so-called centrist] push was intensified after the Senate’s repeal collapsed in the wee hours of Friday morning when Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined with all Senate Democrats to reject the GOP’s “skinny repeal."
The Problem Solvers caucus, led by Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), is fronting the effort to stabilize the ACA markets, according to multiple sources. But other centrist members, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and several other lawmakers from the New Democrat Coalition and the GOP’s moderate Tuesday Group are also involved.
Their plan focuses on immediately stabilizing the insurance market and then pushing for Obamacare changes that have received bipartisan backing in the past.
The most significant proposal is funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies. Insurers rely on these payments – estimated to be $7 billion this year — to reduce out-of-pocket costs for their poorest Obamacare customers.
Locally, the proposal was reported in today’s Green Valley News by editor Dan Shearer in Bipartisan effort tackles health care and defended by McSally in an editorial Bipartisan collaboration will make a statement.
But this proposal may be DOA. Politico acknowledges that Trump could still kill Obamacare by withholding those payments.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off the payments, deriding them as a “bailout” for insurance companies. White House counselor Kelly Conway said on Sunday that Trump will decide “this week” whether to scrap the subsidies — which could make the markets implode.
For more on McSally and related issues see this morning’s post, The rehabilitation of Martha McSally as a mythical moderate Republican begins, at Blog for Arizona by AZBlueMeanie
Oh, this is rich. Rep. Martha McSally, who rallied House GOP members to pass House Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act in the House with the battle cry of “Let’s get this fucking thing done!”, has now joined a bipartisan House group to stabilize “Obamacare.”
This is like the arsonist who burns your house to the ground and then pretends to be a hero by rescuing you from the fire she set. And the GOP-friendly media in Arizona is playing along with McSally’s attempt to rehabilitate her image by again pretending that McSally is a mythical moderate Republican when she votes with Donald Trump’s agenda nearly 100% of the time.
If GOP leaders actually revive an Obamacare repeal plan, you can bet that our mythical moderate Republican Martha McSally will again vote to take health care away from millions of Americans and to gut Medicaid.
Just in case there is any doubt remaining on that matter, here is part of what McSally had to say in her GV News editorial.
To be clear, I think the Affordable Care Act was not the right approach to fix the broken health care system that existed before its passage,
What other approaches might she admit and support? Yesterday in speculating about the GOP’s future I posted this:
… Last night CD2 Rep. Martha McSally was interviewed by Chris Hayes on MSNBC. He asked her if defunding the ACA cost reduction payments, as Trump has threatened, is the right thing to do. He asked and asked and got only dodges and fog. …
Now I obtained Monday’s transcript. Here are (lightly edited) snippets.
Hayes: … in congress now that efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have yet again failed, some lawmakers are now looking for bipartisan solution to strengthen the law.
Politico reports their proposal includes funding, those cost sharing subsidies to help low income Americans, as well as easing insurance requirements for smaller employers.
And two of those lawmakers join me now. Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally of Arizona.
Congresswoman, let me begin with you. Do you think it is appropriate for the President to be essentially threatening to take away that money and spike peoples premiums as a means of gaining political leverage over the law?
McSally: Well, Chris, thanks for having us on. Let me be clear, this is a hot button issue, and we still have sincerely held different beliefs about what is a sustainable health care system. … [lots more here but no answer to the question]
Hayes: … I just want to come back because I did ask you a question, whether you think it is appropriate for the President and not just to threaten, but a thing he might do which is to hold back the money– you talk about costs are too high for people and people are having problems, that would explicitly making that problem worse. He shouldn`t do that, should he?
McSally: As you can see from our plan that we released, 43 members of congress nearly equally on both sides aisle, one of the elements is to fund those cost sharing reductions, those CSRs. But not just throwing money at the problem and not being fiscally responsible because structurally it needs some changes. So the Stability Fund is absolutely critical to address those with the highest expenses and most complex medical needs so we can help drive down premiums and provide more options so the that young healthy people are in the market.
She never did answer the question which was about the morality of Trump’s threat to stop cost sharing payments.
I wrapped up my McSally segment yesterday with this:
… Former air force pilot McSally is scarfing up all kinds of good PR with her problem solving caucus but does not have the right stuff when it comes standing up to Trump. Shame on her.