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Donald Trump Finally Endorses GOP Plan: 'Repeal And Sit With Thumb Up Your Ass'
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was...
Never let it be said that momentary distractions like having a Twitter meltdown about Mika Brzezinski’s bleeding faceparts or a meeting with the president of South Korea can keep Donald Trump's eyes off the prize. Just two days after assuring Americans that the Senate was on the verge of passing "a great healthcare at a reasonable cost" (also "a healthcare that will be a fantastic tribute to your country”) and promising "a great, great surprise," from the senators revising the Better Care Reconciliation Act so it can somehow win support from the moderates who hate it and the rightwingers who hate it more, Trump signaled that he's also ready to just give up because it's hopeless:
So either a terrific new plan that will cover everyone, or just repeal the Affordable Care Act, go back to the halcyon days of 2009, and maybe do something about healthcare later. Or not. That ought to make everyone happy, except of course for all the Republicans who promised they really would repeal and replace the ACA, and might not want to face voters after the whole thing is repealed. Trump sounds like he's finally caught up with the hot new idea of November 2016, "Repeal and Delay," in which R's would simply pass an ACA repeal that doesn't kick in for a few years (so they can have one or two electoral cycles of reelections), with the promise that someday real soon they'll have a real plan. Sure, doing that would break yet another commitment by Trump -- back in January, he'd said he wanted a repeal and a replacement to happen in a single bill -- but it's been a while, and now the idea of simply ridding himself of this meddlesome healthcare plan, then maybe writing a new one the night before it's due, or not, seems more attractive to Trump.
Not that anyone in the Senate is taking that idea seriously, either. Aides to Senate Republicans shot it down almost immediately:
Not going to happen," said one senior GOP aide. "15 votes for that strategy. Which is why we are where we are."
Another senior GOP aide went further, saying if the president continues his erratic messaging, "Not really seeing anything happening in July if his keeps up."
And a third GOP aide said the chances of repealing first and replacing later are "zero."
Oh. Well, maybe not, then. Also, without getting into the weeds of Senate rules, attempting to follow a repeal of the ACA with a whole new bill replacing it, some time later, could run afoul of the Senate's budget reconciliation rules, which is the technicality they're relying on to try to kill Obamacare without the bill being subject to a filibuster. Maybe. But then, never assume rules will keep Republicans from pursuing something they really, really want.
So now the Senate has recessed for the week of Independence Day, and Mitch McConnell will spend the week trying to pound his bill and/or his caucus into a shape that yields 50 votes, while the President explains why the proposal is so great that he's given up on it. The horrifying thing is that we thought the House would never get its eldritch abomination passed, either. Remember: Next week is time for a beer and a cookout, but also it's time to call the bastards to keep pressure on 'em.
Let's close with a glimmer of what may be down the line: An advisor for New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand confirmed this morning that she really and truly meant it the other day when she said she supports Medicare for All. Previously, she had supported the idea of allowing people under the retirement age to buy into Medicare, but with this clarification, she now means she's talking about single-payer (details subject to further discussion, of course). That puts Gillibrand in line with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and for that matter, 52% of Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center.
We have a feeling that insisting everyone be covered is going to look increasingly attractive to people, as compared to the Republicans' carefully parsed explanations of why it would be just fine for 22 million (or maybe 23 million or 24 million) Americans to lose their health insurance. There's just something about the contrast there that seems like one of those options seems kind of mean.
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