World Dou­ble blow con­vulses Repub­li­can bid to re­form US health care

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World - 16 JULY 28, 2017

US Se­nate Repub­li­cans suf­fered a sec­ond sting­ing set­back in as many days Wed­nes­day in their ef­forts to up­root Oba­macare, when a plan to re­peal the health care law – with no re­place­ment at the ready – failed to ad­vance in the cham­ber.

The washout has left Repub­li­cans – who only a day early re­joiced when the Se­nate agreed to pro­ceed to a for­mal de­bate on health care – strug­gling to find con­sen­sus on how to ful­fill Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pledge to scrap the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act.

Se­nate lead­ers have said they in­tend to pass a bill by the end of this week, but that path re­mained murky – and the out­come in doubt.

Seven Repub­li­cans joined Democrats in op­pos­ing Wed­nes­day’s pro­posal, which would have ended Oba­macare’s in­surance ex­changes and its taxes on the wealthy; rolled back the ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid, the health in­surance pro­gram for the poor and the dis­abled; and ended man­dates com­pelling in­di­vid­u­als to have in­surance and for com­pa­nies to pro­vide it.

The non-par­ti­san Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice had fore­casted that 32 mil­lion Amer­i­cans would be­come unin­sured over the next decade should the bill be­come law.

The de­feat came just hours af­ter the Se­nate voted down a broader Repub­li­can plan to re­peal and re­place Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health care re­forms.

It was a bleak set of out­comes for Repub­li­cans af­ter a whirl­wind ses­sion Tues­day at which Senator John Mccain, re­cently di­ag­nosed with brain cancer, earned a warm ova­tion as he re­turned to the Se­nate to cast key votes.

While Trump had ap­plauded Repub­li­cans for fi­nally mov­ing to a de­bate that could lead to “truly great health care for the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” the moment of vic­tory proved tem­po­rary.

Un­der pres­sure to emerge with tan­gi­ble re­sults, Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader Mitch Mccon­nell was putting a va­ri­ety of op­tions for­ward.

“I know mem­bers in both par­ties have health care ideas they’d like to of­fer,” he said. “If you’ve got one, bring it to the floor.”

Frus­tra­tion was set­ting in with some mem­bers in­clud­ing Senator Ben Sasse, who raked fel­low Repub­li­cans over the coals for fail­ing to fol­low through on their seven-year prom­ise to dis­man­tle Oba­macare.

“Make no mis­take: To­day’s vote is a ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment to peo­ple who were promised full re­peal,” he said in a state­ment.

“We still have a long, long way to go.”

One new ap­proach in or­der to keep the ef­fort afloat was gain­ing trac­tion: a lim­ited dis­man­tling of Oba­macare.

The so-called “skinny re­peal” would ditch the pro­vi­sion that fines in­di­vid­u­als for not hav­ing in­surance and com­pa­nies that don’t of­fer it. It also would elim­i­nate a tax on med­i­calde­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The Repub­li­can lead­er­ship does not ex­pect the pared-down bill to be­come law. But should it pass the Se­nate, it could be used as a place­holder, a ba­sis for ne­go­ti­at­ing broader leg­is­la­tion with the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The ap­proach drew sharp crit­i­cism from Democrats, who have warned that an Oba­macare re­peal would re­sult in deep cuts to Med­i­caid and pro­hib­i­tively high in­surance pre­mi­ums for peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

“It’s a Tro­jan horse, de­signed to get the House and Se­nate into con­fer­ence, where the hard right flank of the House Repub­li­cans, the Free­dom Cau­cus, will de­mand full re­peal, or some­thing very close to it,” top Se­nate Demo­crat Chuck Schumer warned.

“There’s no good way out of this,” he added. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.