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Trump Health Insurance Tag

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced a new rule that will help small businesses and self-employed individuals purchase health insurance. From The Wall Street Journal:
The rule makes it far easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to band together and obtain “association health plans” for themselves and their employees. Many of the plans will be subject to the same rules as larger employers, which means they won’t have to provide comprehensive benefits, such as maternity services, prescription drugs, or mental health care, mandated under the ACA.

Perhaps the two aspects of Donald Trump's presidency that I admire the most are is ability to go around supposedly immovable blocks to his proposals and the way he stiffens the spines of his fellow Republicans. After the humiliating Obamacare repeal failure of 2017, many weaker men would have moved on to other matters. However, as Trump continues to take a giant eraser to Obama's legacy, he has obviously moved Congress to take a more piecemeal approach to ending the onerous health insurance regulations promulgated under his predecessor.

Thursday, Trump issued an Executive Order directing federal agencies to draft new regulations allowing employers to form insurance offerings across state lines. Many contend opening up the marketplace will allow more employer flexibility, greater choice, and as a result, lower premiums. Before the ink had dried, a leaked report indicated Trump's plans to throw another blow at Obamacare, this time, by way of subsidy.

Just last week, Bernie Sanders rolled out his Medicare for All bill. Sanders and the bill's advocates railed against the current healthcare system as ineffectual, forgetting (or hoping the public has forgotten) that it's the product of Democrat ideas and votes. In Sanders' fantasy world, single-payer system is the only cure for what ails the American healthcare system. Most of his Democratic Senate colleagues agree. They were wrong about Obamacare and what it would fix and they're wrong single-payer.

We've been actively chronicling the Senate Republican's embarrassing attempt (or feigned, depending on your thoughts here), to repeal Obamacare. Whether it's one big, long con, or a deeply fractured caucus, Sen. Hatch is under the impression that the division in the Republican ranks runs far too deep to find a path forward in the long-promised effort to rid us of Obamacare.

What's happening with Obamacare repeal, you ask? That is a fantastic question. But at this point, it's quite clear that Republicans who campaigned on repealing the ACA have zero intention of doing so now that the opportunity has presented itself. Seven Republican Senators voted against a so-called "clean repeal" bill Wednesday. Sens McCain, Murkowski, Capito, Lamar Alexander, Collins, Portman, and Heller are responsible for tanking the latest repeal effort. The bill offered no replacement but promised to delay full repeal, giving lawmakers time to figure out the rest.

The entire country needs a lesson in parliamentary procedure. As I blogged yesterday, Senate Republicans, with the assist of Vice President Pence finally cobbled together enough votes to pass a motion to proceed (MTP), which simply allowed for debate on proposed Republican health care reform. To watch Democrats, progressives, and everyone under the impression that health insurance saves lives, John McCain was single-handedly responsible for killing off some 22 million people. Never mind the other 50 votes or the that Sen. McCain already said he'd support a MTP. And let's not even bother considering the CBO estimates of health insurance losses are due to an inordinate amount of people choosing to abstain from purchasing health insurance once the individual mandate ceases to be. In any case, in the minds of many, McCain became a veritable killing machine.

One of my favorite things to come out of the Republican ObamaCare flailing is Kemberlee's term for it:  a cluster. It is that.  But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has one card left up his sleeve, and he intends to use it next week: force his caucus to record for their constituents (and for posterity) their vote on ObamaCare repeal.  (Democrats will vote, too, of course, but we know how that will go.) I like this move.  Put every single Republican on record for once and for all on ObamaCare repeal, and let us see who stands where and how that compares to the numerous repeal votes each cast when Obama was in the White House, veto pen at the ready. This isn't a single-play for McConnell; it's part of one-two punch that he hopes will rally Trump supporters and others who want ObamaCare gone (or those who want to keep it.).  The pressure resulting from a formal repeal ObamaCare vote will help him herd recalcitrant members behind . . . something that is less of a cluster.

Late Monday night, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) was pronounced dead when Republicans failed to whip enough support to debate the bill, much less ensure its passage. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced Monday night their refusal to support the BCRA in its current form, joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in opposition.

A few days ago, Kemberlee provided an overview of what is new in the GOP's revamped health care bill.  One thing that has turned out to be absent from the new version is the Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) "Freedom Option" touted by conservatives and a lynchpin in scoring skittish conservative Senators' votes. On July 14th, the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Blue Cross sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to drop the Freedom Option.
As the U.S. Senate considers the Better Care Reconciliation Act, AHIP and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association urge the Senate to strike the “Consumer Freedom Option” from the bill. It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market.
It appears that this advice was followed because the Freedom Option no longer appears in the Senate bill.
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