UPDATE: Pres. Obama's Veto Pen now officially the ONLY thing to save 17M people's healthcare & 40% of Planned Parenthood's funding.


Senate Passes Bill to Dismantle Obamacare

December 3, 2015 By Taegan Goddard3 Comments

“Openly welcoming a preordained veto, Republicans drove legislation to Senate passage Thursday aimed at crippling two of their favorite targets: President Barack Obama’s health care law and Planned Parenthood,” the AP reports.

“With a House rubber stamp expected in days, the bill would be the first to reach Obama’s desk demolishing his 2010 health care overhaul, one of his proudest domestic achievements, and halting federal payments to Planned Parenthood. Congress has voted dozens of times to repeal or weaken the health law and several times against Planned Parenthood’s funding, but until now Democrats thwarted Republicans from shipping the legislation to the White House.”



60th* Time's the Charm, it appears:

Republicans are closer than ever to putting a repeal of Obamacare on the president’s desk.

After an all-out effort by emissaries and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the past two weeks to woo skeptical GOP senators, Senate Republicans are moving toward a more aggressive plan to gut President Barack Obama's signature achievement through a majority-vote budget mechanism known as reconciliation. Obama, of course, would veto the proposal. But it would allow Republicans to finally say that Congress voted to overturn the health care law they've been railing against since it was signed into law nearly six years ago.

*(give or take...I've long since lost count)

Yes, after dozens and dozens of attempts, it looks like President Obama may finally have to stop the Republican Party from screwing over millions of people by pulling out a ballpoint pen (or whatever type of pen is used for vetoing bills).

McConnell will make a presentation to Senate Republicans on Monday evening that centers on winding down the expansion of Medicaid in Obamacare for low-income Americans, according to Republican aides. The proposal would gradually phase out Medicaid expansion in preparation for the next president to enact a new health care reform law. Separately, the measure would deny funding to Planned Parenthood as conservatives have demanded, even in the wake of last week's fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado.


Yes, Medicaid, which is currently covering more than 13.6 million more people than it did in October 2013, would see at least 10 million of those folks kicked to the curb again (the other 3.6 million or so were added to "traditional" Medicaid which is presumably more at risk from the powers that be in the various state governments, which is probably small comfort to most of them).

Meanwhile, after the Republican Party falsely accused Planned Parenthood of doing horrible things, leading to a nutbag going on a shooting spree, murdering 3 people and wounding a half-dozen others even though the accusations had been thoroughly debunked, the GOP has decided to follow up by slashing over 40% of Planned Parenthood's funding.

The Politico article doesn't go into detail about the rest of the ACA (exchanges, federal subsidies, pre-existing conditions, etc etc), but it's safe to assume that the GOP bill would decimate those as well.

Let's hope President Obama's writing hand doesn't get cramped up.

UPDATE 12/01/15: Oh for the love of God...check out the updated version of the Politico story (h/t to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post):

McConnell presented a plan to Senate Republicans on Monday evening that centered on winding down the expansion of Medicaid in Obamacare for low-income Americans over two years, according to lawmakers. The proposal would gradually phase out Medicaid expansion in preparation for the next president to enact a new health care reform law. It would also scrap a medical device tax and so-called "Cadillac tax" for high-cost plans. In contrast with the House plan, the bill would eliminate the subsidies available to help consumers buy insurance.

OK, so this updated version of the article gives more specifics: Sure enough, the new plan would indeed scrap the federal subsidies and cost sharing provisions of the ACA in addition to Medicaid expansion, along with two of the major funding mechanisms (Cadillac tax and medical device tax), although those are both likely to be scrapped via other means sooner or later anyway. So, in short: About a 90% gutting of the law itself.

HOWEVER, in addition to this change, the revised Politico story includes this new addition, which Sargent wrote about this morning:

But a number of Republican senators from states that have expanded Medicaid voiced concerns about the message the party would be sending to the thousands of constituents that would lose their health care under the GOP's bill.

On Monday, GOP leadership offered reassurances that there will be a two-year transition period that keeps federal subsidies flowing until the next president passes a plan, sources in the room said. And senators were reminded that the president would veto the repeal bill anyway, meaning Republicans could vote on the measure without having to deal with the political risks of actually making major changes to existing law.

Holy crap on a stick.

Well...ok. This isn't really particularly shocking; politicians take stances which are popular with their base but are unpopular in the larger general populace because they know those stances will never actually become law all the time. What's unusual here is that McConnell & Co. were apparently so brazenly open about this tactic that they just stated it flat out. In addition, it's not just Medicaid expansion; as Sargent notes:

There’s another dimension to this that’s worth appreciating. McConnell is reassuring nervous Senators about this vote not only by pointing out that Obama will veto the measure, but also by promising that the subsidies will continue temporarily, until the next Republican president passes an alternative for those who’d lose them. Thus, taking the subsidies away is also apparently deemed politically problematic, requiring a Republican alternative for those people. But the beauty of this is that, since the measure won’t actually become law due to Obama’s veto, Congressional Republicans won’t actually have to produce this alternative.

Cynicism is having an orgasm this morning.