With the Freedom Caucus on board for the MacArthur amendment to the GOP’s lousy Obamacare reform bill, all eyes are on the Republican moderates of the House. At their current rate, they are going to kill the bill because they believe it repeals too much of Obamacare. Cowards.
The Hill’s whip list currently has 21 Republicans voting “no” on the legislation. If the GOP loses one more vote, there will not be enough Republicans to get the bill to 217 (with every Democratic member voting against Obamacare reform).
While some members like Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., refuse to vote for the bill because it breaks the Republicans’ promise to fully repeal Obamacare, the majority of no votes are centrists who think the repeal legislation goes too far.
With the bill’s failure likely imminent, the vote has been delayed.
Republicans won't vote on health care this week.
"Did I ever say we were gonna vote this week?" Kevin McCarthy says.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) April 28, 2017
Just what do the moderates want, short of keeping Obamacare in its current form? The Freedom Caucus bent over backward to find a compromise that they could vote for. When the original promise was full repeal, conservatives compromised to just repealing the insurance regulations driving up premiums. When that fell through, they settled on the current plan to give some states waivers to make repeal of those regulations optional. How do the moderates want to drag the bill further to the left?
By protecting entitlement programs.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said that the moderates could potentially be swayed to vote yes if some changes to Medicaid were undone.
"I think we understand that the MacArthur language is the language," he said about the amendment made public this week that would allow states to opt out of certain Obamacare requirements. "But there are a couple of other tweaks that could occur on the Medicaid side to help in some extent, without it being such a huge issue that it would lose anybody."
Centrists opposed to the current version have noted that the bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid, saying they are concerned about taking coverage away from low-income constituents. Collins said they are worried about provisions in the legislation that would allow states to change their Medicaid funding to a block grant or to a system that would place a per-capita cap on funding, structures that would limit spending but also give states more flexibility about how to use federal dollars.
The sticking point for RINOs is an $880 billion cut to government spending on the Medicaid entitlement program that has repeatedly proved itself to be an abject failure. Seven years of campaign promises from Republicans down the toilet because there are too many members of Congress afraid of touching entitlement programs.
By now it should’ve been clear that the Republican Party had no intention of fully repealing Obamacare. But the concessions demanded by too many Republicans are enlightening.
If Republicans cannot achieve moderate entitlement reform to Obamacare now, what can voters expect from the GOP regarding other pledges — e.g. entitlement reform for the likes of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid writ-large? These are the programs that are driving the mass majority of government spending.
If the Republican Party is the party of smaller government, and its members in power refuse to shrink the size of government, what is the GOP’s raison d'être?
And why should small-government conservatives belong to the Republican Party?