Hoeven Can’t Admit Congress Should Just Improve Obamacare

The Senate attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare isn’t over. Disregard the Republican failings on “health care”  over the first six months of the Trump administration. Disregard the sudden defeat of the unpopular Senate 2.0 version on Monday which included Senator Ted Cruz’s amendment. Disregard the apparent defeat of the unpopular Senate 3.0 version that was simply repealing current law. Today, Senate Republicans are yet again trying to go it alone on “health care” reform even when the public wants them to work on bipartisan solutions.

Senator John Hoeven joined Joel Heitkamp on KFGO’s News and Views today to give an update on where he stands in the process. Hoeven said he would have voted against the bill before them on Monday. His stance again was made public after the bill had basically been defeated. Albeit late, Senator Hoeven gave good reasoning for his opposition to the bill. Joel Heitkamp then pressed Senator Hoeven on whether he’d vote for a straight repeal of Obamacare. To paraphrase, Hoeven’s response, “Yes, IF…we delay changes or even keep Medicaid Expansion. Also, if there are still federal payments for people to cover their premiums on the exchanges.” You can listen to the full interview here.

I don’t know about you, but keeping federal subsidies for premiums and maintaining Medicaid Expansion doesn’t sound like much of a “repeal” of Obamacare if you ask me. So why would Senator Hoeven vote for this faux “repeal?” Simply to provide cover for Republicans who promised repeal for seven years. I don’t agree with his solution to the challenges, but Republican Senator Rand Paul is right in calling out these “repeal-in-name-only” attempts by his Republican colleagues. We know now they don’t have a workable plan. It was partisan politics to win elections.

Because of this seven-year campaign promise along with a President begging for a legislative win, Republicans aren’t giving up on strict partisan “solutions.” According to Politico’s Burgess Everett, Senate Republicans are having an emergency meeting tonight to try and close ranks and push something through. This meeting follows an earlier lunch at the White House where President Trump pushed them to get something done.

 

Before the emergency Republican Senate meeting, the Congressional Budget Office issued a score on the “repeal” only option. Also reported from Politico tonight, “The nonpartisan scorekeeper’s report projects that 17 million people would lose insurance in the first year after a partial repeal that includes ending Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and repealing most of the taxes tied to the law.” Those are dramatic changes in the first year alone if successfully passed by Congress.

My questions: will Senator Hoeven continue to be a hold on “repeal-in-name-only” after tonight’s GOP meeting? Can Senate Republicans – outside of Rand Paul – just admit they don’t want to fully repeal Obamacare because they like certain parts of the law? Will we get to the point where these Republicans will admit repeal was simply a campaign talking point and work with Senate Democrats to find workable solutions? Will we get a damn public hearing on this bill that impacts so many people? Let’s continue to look for the real answers.

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