We're OK. The 13th is a Saturday next month. In October, though...

Poor Donald Trump won't get his dream of dumping tens of millions of people off health insurance, at least not in time for his completely irrelevant/source of deep anxiety 100th day in office. With little ceremony, House GOP leaders decided Thursday night they didn't have the votes for their latest, cruelest version of a bill to repeal and "replace" the Affordable Care Act, so they gave up on a plan to vote on it today. Too bad, so sad, and it looks like the government won't shut down either, at least not for a week. In fact, it's almost as if lawmakers were more intent on passing a short-term bill to fund the government for another week (while they figure out a continuing resolution to last through September) than in shutting everything down over the urgent need to strip people of healthcare. Weird, huh?

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent has this radical explanation of why the latest version of the increasingly badly named "American Health Care Act" didn't get a vote:

A lot of explanations are circulating: A rushed vote would have complicated keeping the government open; Republicans balked at opposition from the powerful AARP; poor messaging and GOP infighting; and so forth.

I’d like to propose another explanation. What if the GOP repeal effort once again failed because the Affordable Care Act has actually helped a lot of people, and this whole process has made that a lot harder for Republicans to deny?

Before we all accuse Mr. Sargent of being a wild-eyed optimist, let's note he's only saying lots of Rs may be coming to the conclusion that killing off Obamacare would be a lot more politically risky than not killing it off. But since they've promised to repeal Obamacare since 2010, almost none of them will ever come out and say "Oh, yeah, the ACA is actually really good, and maybe we can fix some of the parts that don't work well because we sabotaged them instead of going back to the even worse mess we used to have." Not likely to hear anything quite that honest. Instead, they'll say Obamacare is still awful, but any replacement plan along the lines of the AHCA would be unacceptable because it wouldn't meet the goals they've set for a good replacement: keeping costs down, not kicking people who have insurance off it, and not punishing people who have preexisting conditions. And since just about the only ACA replacement that could really achieve those goals would be single payer, chances are good that plenty of Republicans will keep saying they want to repeal and replace the ACA, but haven't found exactly the right market-based solution just yet, which has the effect of leaving the ACA in place. Or maybe they'll drop the same acid the editor of Newsmax did, back Medicaid for all, and just call it a conservative solution.

This doesn't at all mean the conservative hardliners won't keep trying to gut the ACA -- they really, really want to repeal it, and won't be happy until the specter of poor people getting at least a minimal amount of health care is finally wiped from the face of the earth. So we can look forward to a lot of new, ever crazier variations of the AHCA to return, like a horror movie monster can never quite die, as long as there's even the slightest chance of the House voting for it. But once the pressure of the imaginary 100-days deadline is off, there's no telling whether Donald Trump will be persuaded to embrace the rotting corpse the Freedom Caucus is so committed to bedding down with, like Miss Emily Grieson, since even though it's never going to take another breath, it's still the thing they love most in this world, and as long as their voters in safely gerrymandered districts keep sending them roses for their efforts.

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[WaPo / NBC News / WaPo again]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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