Thursday, May 11, 2017

The effort Ted is leading in the Senate: the closest thing we've seen to actual repeal and replace all year

What his group is forging is pretty darn good for what will pass the 51-vote test:

Senator Ted Cruz is working behind the scenes with a group of fellow senators on another version of the Obamacare replacement bill.
The alternative bill would allow cross-state insurance purchases, health savings accounts, the expansion of association health plans, and would include medical malpractice reform.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Senator Cruz explained that with this alternative, it could potentially be passed with only one bill, rather than the two that are being promoted by House Republican leadership.
Cruz said he has been working for weeks with the now-thirteen member group of GOP senators on an Obamacare repeal and replacement plan that would eliminate the need for a second phase of legislation to replace failing healthcare law. Instead of a limited repeal and replace bill followed by another bill later, the GOP wish-list for replacing Obamacare would be packed into a single budget resolution to repeal Obamacare that could pass with only GOP support using a tool called reconciliation.
“I believe the only meaningful healthcare reform will be through reconciliation,” Cruz told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

It quite cleanly dispenses with the three-phase nonsense the Reasonable Gentlemen in the House thought necessary:

Cruz (rightly) raises the concern that the plan can’t make it past the second phase, simply because it would be too difficult to get the necessary Democrat votes.
“Senate Democrats are listening to their radical left wing base of their party and so no health care reform legislation will garner 60 votes because there are not eight senators who will vote for any of the legislation,” Cruz said.
“I think the answer, very simply, is to put it all in one bucket,” Cruz added. In other words, pass everything under reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes instead of the typical 60.
But can it be done? Is it allowable?
Cruz thinks so.
“Every one of the reforms reduces premiums and has a significant budgetary impact and therefore, under the terms of the statute, those reforms are permissible under reconciliation,” Cruz said. 
If there is anything to the thinking that the best that can presently be done is to give the legislative effort the biggest nudge possible in the direction of true repeal and replace, this appears to fit the bill.

Its defining features could see people engaging in free-market behavior simultaneously with the continuing not-all-that-slow death of the "A"CA due to impossible-to-afford premiums, co-pays and deductibles, the crushing bureaucracy imposed on clinics and hospitals, exchanges with fewer plan choices and collapsing co-ops.

Ted gets to demonstrate that he's a leader on the issue that has always been foremost among those on which he's focused.

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