Grr. Arrgh.

Reports of stirrings and rumblings from a secret lab deep beneath Washington DC can only mean one thing. The mad scientists -- not that they think science is real -- of the House Freedom Caucus and the Trump White House are allegedly close to throwing the switch and shouting "It's ALIVE!" over the smoking, hideous form of their latest bid to reanimate the rotting corpse of their scheme to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The first time the monster stalked the earth, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would leave 24 million Americans without health insurance. Since its horrifying new form will allow states to opt out of the mandate for essential health benefits and would let insurance companies charge much more for policyholders with preexisting conditions (such as having, like 80 percent of American women will, ever had a pregnancy), the new version is almost certain to eliminate coverage for more people. Victory!

The basic shape of the new, crueler ACA repeal is a cynical attempt to win support from GOP "moderates" and the Teabaggers in the Freedom Caucus at the same time:

The agreement at the crux of the revised bill would allow states to opt out of some insurance regulations in the Affordable Care Act. Through a federal waiver, insurers could be freed from a requirement to cover certain essential health benefits as defined by the federal government. And while they’d still be required to cover people with preexisting conditions, they could charge those patients higher premiums.

Nifty, huh? As we noted last week, this lets "moderates" say they voted to protect essential health benefits and protections against being punished for preexisting conditions, while red-state Republicans would be free to dismantle the parts of the ACA that almost everyone likes -- except free-market absolutists.

Oh, and there is one nifty little provision in the plan that ought to help make it more attractive to congressional Republicans: As Vox notes, an amendment added Tuesday night by New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur would ensure that members of Congress and their staffs would be able to keep the essential benefits and preexisting condition protections even if their home states vote to opt out. Isn't that nice? You may remember that Congress voted to require members and staff to get insurance through the healthcare exchanges, to prove how terrible Obamacare is, but now that they're considering trashing the ACA, they aren't quite so eager to have their benefits -- or those of their staff, who work real hard -- cut like those of the commoners. Guess they must like their plan and want to keep it! MacArthur cleverly buried the exemption in his amendment by not actually naming what it would do; instead, it was all just a bunch of references to the numbers of the ACA provisions requiring Congress to use the marketplaces:

What a clever boy he is! Not really a big deal, though, since, after all, members of Congress have the job skills and incomes that make them more worthy of health care than the slobs at home.

Needless to say, the whole eldritch abomination is loved, loved, loved by the leaders of the Freedom Caucus who drafted it. They want to hug it and pet it and take it home and call it "George" (for Washington, not either Bush, the RINOs). Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Raul Labrador of Idaho can't wait to get it to the floor of the House right away and pass it by Friday so Donald Trump will have a feather in his cap in time for his first 100 days. A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan, AshLee Strong, did that thing Ryan does when he's not wild about an idea but also doesn't want rightwing talk radio to call for his head, at least not much more loudly than they already have been. Strong indicated Ryan was wildly apathetic toward another attempt to throw tens of millions of people off health insurance, saying he "hasn't ruled out" a vote this week, but Ryan is mostly focused on getting a spending resolution passed to avoid a government shutdown, the RINO. But sure, if a bill springs forth from the forehead of Mark Meadows, maybe it could get passed super-quick, you betcha, no problem, could definitely happen:

“I think we can turn things around quickly if we were to reach an agreement,” she said. “We will see something as soon as we can, but we’re not there right now.”

Oh, there might be a hitch or two, like the fact that the original awful (but less-awful than this) version of ACA repeal would have been dead on arrival in the Senate, or perhaps the polling that shows large majorities rejecting the Republican plan to let states opt out of essential benefits and protections for those with preexisting conditions:

Public sentiment is particularly lopsided in favor of an aspect of the current health-care law that blocks insurers from charging more or denying coverage to customers with medical conditions. About 8 in 10 Democrats, 7 in 10 independents and even a slight majority of Republicans say that should continue to be a national mandate, rather than an option for states to retain or drop.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll also found increasing support for "keeping and improving" the ACA -- 61 percent -- and only 37 percent wanting Congress to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. Which obviously means only one thing: The lying leftwing media is faking poll results again, and the American people demand crappier, more expensive healthcare NOW.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader contributions. Please click the "Donate" clicky to send us money. We'll stay on this story, no matter how many cheesy old Roger Corman monsters it takes.

[WaPo / Vox / WaPo]

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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