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AHCA Dead? Trump and House Freedom Caucus Unable to Come to Agreement (Updated)

AHCA Dead? Trump and House Freedom Caucus Unable to Come to Agreement (Updated)

Dead in the water?

Update: No vote today

After hours of late-night, pizza-filled negotiations, Politico reports Trump and a small, but disruptive contingent, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), have been unable to come to an agreement on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), what House Republicans promise is the first in a three-step approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare.

But in today’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said some members of the HFC pledged to vote for the AHCA. I’m guessing Politico’s report is based on the fact that Trump was unable to move the entire HFC block.

The last minute negotiations left some Republicans feeling they were making the same missteps as Democrats when Obamacare was slopped together in a fury of revisions over Christmas.

Even without the help of the House Freedom Caucus, almost a dozen other Republicans announced their intention to vote “no” on the AHCA.

According to Spicer, Republican hesitation stems from concerns over rising insurance costs, decreased coverage, and fewer choices. Dissenting members are not confident the AHCA as written, will adequately protect their constituents from further rate increases.

The AHCA is limited in what it can accomplish since addresses only budgetary issues. Regardless, House Republicans have been unsuccessful in whipping public support of the bill.

Despite the current GOP disagreements, the White House is confident the AHCA will pass. “It’s going to pass, so that’s it,” said Spicer.

At the time this post was published, Congress still planned to vote on the legislation Thursday. But not it’s looking more likely the vote will be postponed.

A source told CNN there will be no vote today:

But it could happen!

At this point, I’d be surprised if there was a vote on the AHCA today. But if there is, we’ll be sure to let you know.

No AHCA vote today

I will never understand why, knowing when votes are scheduled, Congress waits until the last minute to pull these things together. But it looks like they’re hoping to schedule a vote on the AHCA tomorrow. The drama could spill into next week.

Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner discusses why a legislative mishmash could have serious and unknown repercussions:

Few researchers, for instance, would have contemplated a scenario with the following combination: “essential health benefits” are repealed, insurers are allowed to charge older individuals five times as much for insurance (as opposed to three times as much), the mandate penalties are zeroed out, but many other regulations remain. That’s a unique combination of changes that would typically be debated, allowing times for experts to weigh in and give testimony.

For this reason, lawmakers being asked to vote on this bill in such a rushed manner — especially if they do so without a revised score from the Congressional Budget Office — would be largely “flying blind,” Cannon argues.

Let’s be honest here:

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Close The Fed | March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

The process here is very disappointing. I understand they want to pass it because the theoretical savings from changing Ocare will allow a better tax deal, but to gum up the medical care works with something dysfunctional is shortsighted.

I appreciate the House Freedom Caucus doing what they can to make the promise of repeal real. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Ryan introduced this concept of keeping Ocare and just changing it at the margins. For example, AHCA provided that all the “Essential Health Benefits” meaning the items insurance is required to cover remain, as well as the requirement that insurance companies guarantee issuance to someone with pre-existing conditions though they would have to pay an additional 30% premium for a short period. The combination of these items means that there will be strong incentives for people to wait to get insurance. This is bad for insurance costs because it disincentivizes massively the purchase of insurance.

Keeping the Essential H.B.s means that the cost of insurance, all other things being equal, would not decline, because the amount of benefits could not be reduced. Thus, someone like me, who for decades used a high deductible/low premium plan, those are still off the table. I spoke with my rep. Barry Loudermilk, and he told me those wouldn’t be coming up until the “Third Step” meaning new legislation is passed, about the end of 2018.

The story is that reconciliation doesn’t allow these changes, but to me that’s the gutless GOP speaking, not the kind of representatives Americans deserve, who have the courage to take the heat and just say “no” to the Senate Parliamentarian, and take a vote to overrule the Parliamentarian, if needed.

I’m very disappointed by this process. Very disappointed. Not the deliberation that our medical care deserves, that each and every one of us relies upon, and the outrageous fact that a government that absorbs so much of our capital can do no better than this slapdash garbage.

There’s much more, but this suffices to illustrate the slapdash crap this is.

Ryan knew from the beginning he was selling a garbage bill. In other words, this is the bill Ryan wanted, not anyone else. Kudos to the Freedom Caucus for sticking to their guns.

Ryan is smart but not a leader. He was a great supporting guy to discuss numbers, but coalescing a varied group to stand against the democrats, he is weak. He does not know how to make a deal either.

I hope President Trump sees Ryan’s abilities and lack thereof

    snopercod in reply to scfanjl. | March 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    There’s the theory that Trump is purposely letting Ryan twist slowly in the wind to pay him back for his lack of support during the campaign.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to snopercod. | March 23, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Ryan, Never-Trumpers, Democrats, MSM, BLM, etc. etc. etc. are all slowly twisting in the wind – at the end of the ropes of their own making…….

typical of the St00pid Party: they have had years to come up with a sensible replacement bill, with tort reform, interstate sale of insurance and reduced red tape & reporting requirements, to name a few.

but did they?

of course not.

instead it’s just more of the same BS.


    snopercod in reply to redc1c4. | March 23, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Exactly! What the hell have they been doing for the last 7 years? Nothing! No tort reform, no EMTALA reform, no McCarran-Ferguson repeal (insurance over state lines), no reining in the FDA, no dealing with “anchor babies”, NOTHING!

    They’re not stupid – just corrupt.

    Milhouse in reply to redc1c4. | March 24, 2017 at 2:51 am

    They had plenty of bills. But none of them are acceptable to Trump, who believes in big government and wants the government role in health insurance to remain. He doesn’t want a free market or anything like it. This is not RyanCare, it’s TrumpCare. It was written to his specifications, and that’s the truth.

      Barry in reply to Milhouse. | March 24, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      “He doesn’t want a free market or anything like it.”

      I agree. But if you think the GOPe, represented by Ryan, want a free market, there is a bridge near you for sale.

    artys in reply to redc1c4. | March 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Definitely stupid. What little conviction they have is actually based in liberalism. They are hollow, folding at the least adversity. And the democrats eat them for breakfast.

Better no bill than one that is crap. We are going to have to live with this for a long time.

Postpone and come back with something better.

If you are walking along and come upon a pissed off diamondback, don’t shoot it in the rattles. I guess Ryan never gets outdoors.

Aw. Those bad ol’ irrelevant conservatives are making Mr. Establishment honor his promises…


The AHCA is merely a way for the Republicans leadership to be able to point to something and say, “We tried to correct the ACA, but we were blocked by the evil (insert group here)”.

First of all, no one has EVER explained the timeline here. Why must the AHCA be passed before anything else can be done?

Phase 2 is largely repealing and changing the administrative rules written by the HHS Secretary. As this can be done without any further legislation being passed, there is no reason why it can not be done immediately. Phase 1, the drafting of a comprehensive bill which would remove the arduous impositions on the medical and insurance industry, which do not require budgetary changes, can be done concurrently and is not subject to any significant time restraints.
Phase 3 largely relies upon the hope that the Republicans will end up with a super majority in the Senate in 2019 or 2021. So, we may never see phase 3 at all.

There is no reason why the Congress can not put together a well planned and executed bill which will realistically deal with the problems which the government has created in the medical care/insurance industry. Fools rush in.

On the other hand, the rush may be due to the fact that the majority of the members of Congress really do not want to change the existing healthcare laws at all.

    Close The Fed in reply to Mac45. | March 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    The reason for the timeline as I understand it, is because Trump wishes to do tax reform. The “savings” from AHCA are supposed to fund some of the tax changes he wishes to make.

      In that case, it would be nice if someone would point out EXACTLY what the changes to the ACA are, which will allow for this. In the original bill, tax revenue would have been reduced and the federal subsidies for expanded medicaid would continue at, at least, 80% of the current level. I fail to see where this bill will produce significant spending cuts.

      The administration and House leadership keep throwing out reasons why it is essential that this garbage bill be passed immediately, but those “reasons” are abominably short of supporting facts. It is like the smiling used car salesman who says, “Trust me. This is a deal that you can’t afford to pass up.”

“I will never understand why, knowing when votes are scheduled, Congress waits until the last minute to pull these things together. ”

Because it is a negotiation, and once a deal is reached, it is absolutely necessary to solidify it, or it will evaporate.

Kemberlee, if you see this, then Firefox works, but Safari does not (I am using a Mac with OS 10.12.3).

Firefox is jumpy, and it contains even more spyware than Safari, which is why I dislike it.

inspectorudy | March 23, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Look, I hate RINOs as much as anyone but what I think is happening is that people like Ryan really believe that once they get this through and go on to phase 2 and 3, they will be able to fix it like most of us want. But we all know what promises by Congress are worth. They have lied to us for so long that only a fool would believe them now. This is their own making. I would like to see them make the parliamentarian have to scream and howl because she is having to work so hard. Who are they afraid of? The people that voted them are the ones that they should fear, not the Dems.

Repeal the monstrosity and get out of the way, let the markets replace.
Insurance companies obviously don’t offer a product that’s appealing to both patients and doctors. If they can’t find it, they should go out of business, not get the gubmint to regulate them into prosperity.

buckeyeminuteman | March 23, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Tea Party: 1
GOP RINOs: egg on face

Full repeal is what was promised and Republicans had better act like their jobs depend on it!

Also, Bannon and Reince-Repeat-Priebus were spotted on Capital Hill.

Just who the fluck they think they’d be fooling with that bullspit is anyone’s guess.

Pelosi Schmelosi | March 23, 2017 at 11:23 pm

What we’re witnessing here is know as “governing”.
The GOP was da bomb when they knew whatever they shoved under Obama’s nose would get vetoed. It didn’t matter and was just to get votes.

But now that they actually have to “govern”, they’re a dysfunctional mess. Pathetic