Donald Trump's first 100 days have been a disaster, so House Republicans are trying to ram through a crueler version of their health care bill to give him something to show for his presidency.
Donald Trump has no substantive legislative accomplishments to show for the first 100 days of his presidency, so Republicans in Congress are trying to resuscitate their attempt to repeal Obamacare and deliver some kind of win to Trump.
The extremely conservative House Freedom Caucus, which successfully scuttled the first failed plan, are working with the Tuesday Group, a slightly less right-wing faction of the House Republican conglomerate. Their compromise manages to increase the cruelty of the original bill by effectively reintroducing the pre-existing condition.
Huffington Post reports that the deal “would allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision ― the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.” The proposal would explode premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions, while new risk pools proposed by Republicans would barely help.
It also rolls back a promise House Republicans made when presenting the original health care plan, in which they touted the idea that protections for those with pre-existing conditions would remain in place.
This sentence on the House GOP website *might* need some editing. pic.twitter.com/sfBXK4WJuL
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) April 20, 2017
The elimination of premiums for pre-existing conditions is among the most popular elements of the Affordable Care Act. The law required, as of 2014, that all health care insurance providers cover everyone regardless of their existing conditions. And those providers are not allowed to arbitrarily increase insurance costs for the most vulnerable and desperate patients.
In a statement, Leslie Dach, director of the Protect Our Care campaign, slammed the new policy:
Instead of listening to people across the country who are telling Republicans in Congress to stop health care repeal, the latest House Republican proposal makes a bad bill worse by eliminating the ACA’s guarantee for affordable health coverage for preexisting conditions. President Trump and Republican leaders promised to protect coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Now they’re giving in to the extreme right to undermine the very coverage they promised to protect.
The new GOP proposal is being done to appease the Freedom Caucus members who complained that the first Republican pass at Obamacare repeal — the American Health Care Act — was too generous to patients.
The original bill that Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull because he could not gather enough votes from his own party to pace it also faced an uphill climb in the Senate, where even Republicans balked at being associated with a law that would strip 24 million people of their health insurance.
That failed bill was massively unpopular with voters, and remains so. A recent poll from Priorities USA found that 36 percent opposed Trump’s health care proposals, a number that jumped to 51 percent after the details of the plan were released, and remains at 50 percent today.
— Nick Gourevitch (@nickgourevitch) April 20, 2017
A revised bill, even if it passed the House, would be a long shot to pass the Senate. Which would not solve the problem these rushed negotiations are trying to solve: Trump’s massive failure to achieve any of his legislative agenda.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer was stumped at a recent White House press conference, because he was unable to name a single legislative accomplishment for the Trump administration within its first 100 days. The one bill he did name was introduced and sponsored by a Democratic senator.
The first 100 days of presidential activity has been a feature of American politics since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his time in office to pass a torrent of legislation and policies aimed at fighting the Great Depression.
More recently, President Barack Obama engineered the passage of the Recovery Act, which sought to undo the ravages of the Bush recession — turning the economy from massive job losses as he entered office to the job gains that continue today.
Trump cannot measure up, and he knows it. His agenda has stalled, thanks to his own party, and his signature executive order — the Muslim ban — been rejected in court. The wall on the southern border remains a pipe dream, thus far.
So, Republicans are trying to double down on cruelty and pass health care repeal in order to rescue Trump from having one of the worst first 100 days in presidential history. They are highly unlikely to succeed.