By Dr. Ray Kessler, who is, incidentally, a retired Prof. of Criminal Justice, former defense attorney and prosecutor is your host. I am also a part-time instructor in Criminal Justice at Richland College, an outstanding, 2-year institution in Dallas, TX.
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Saturday, July 29, 2017
ANALYSIS OF REPUB. HEALTH CARE BILL FAILURE
Republicans have been planning on how to repeal, or at least
gut, the ACA (Obamacare) for 7 years.Trump vowed to repeal and replace.The have a Republican in the White House and a majority in both houses
of Congress.Congress has been working
on it for at least 7 months.I can’t
recall such a huge failure by either party majority and its President in at
least the last century.
Republicans made no attempts at bipartisanship or even unity
among party members.The bills were
formulated in private meetings with just 13 Republicans.Republican female senators were
excluded.When the basic bill was
introduced, amendments were made and a vote taken quickly.As was the case with the original ACA, votes
were taken before anyone had time to even figure out what the final bill looked
like.Given the exclusion of many
Republican Senators from the process, there was no solid consensus.Is this how most Americans want Congress of
In spite of Trump’s threat that he would be “angry” is it
didn’t pass, Trump provided little help and leadership.Many argue that he was part of the
thanks to the alleged 'fake news' New York Times for these excellent analyses. [parens by blogger]
“This is what you get when you have a president
with no fixed principles, indifferent to policy and ignorant of the legislative
process,” said Charlie
Sykes, a veteran Republican operative and former radio host. He added, “There’s
a difference between whiteboards and legislating in the real world. It’s hard
to take away benefits once conferred.” . . . But most Republicans believe that
their path to repealing the law would have likely succeeded had it not been for
Mr. Trump, whose comments about other topics and inconsistent support for their
work — he celebrated a House-passed bill in a Rose Garden ceremony only to
denounce it as “mean” weeks later — undermined their efforts. . . “I think this
is in good measure Trump’s fault,” Mr. Wehner said, echoing what many
Republicans said privately and increasingly in public. “He has no knowledge of
public policy and is indifferent to it. To try and get massive reform through
Congress, even if you have control of Congress, you need the president to be an
asset. He isn’t only not an asset, he is
an active adversary. He is dead weight for Republicans.”
both parties said that the only path forward for health care — and indeed any
legislation — would now have to be a product of bipartisan efforts.
we have an opportunity now to have discussions on durable, sustainable
reforms,” said Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from
Pennsylvania who opposed the House efforts this year to repeal the law. “I
think moderate voices will be important in health care just as they already
have been on budgets, appropriations bills and anything else that needs to be
enacted into law.”
calls for bipartisanship from both sides of the aisle.This is not likely.Many conservative Republicans (e.g. Cruz)
really only want repeal.They don’t want
replace.The Republican closed-door
approach to legislation was resented by many Democrats.Toxic bipartisanship still reigns.Many on both sides realize that a constant
barrage of tweets, White House chaos and scandals have weakened the
President.Hard-core Republicans will
not tolerate bipartisan rescue of the ACA.]
AND HISTORY, IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THINK [parens by blogger]
“Days after Mr.
Trump’s inauguration, Republicans gathered in Philadelphia for their annual
retreat, exulting in their November victories as liquor flowed and Trump-themed
socks were tucked into gift bags for lawmakers.
“Think of everything
we can achieve,” Mr. Trump told them, predicting the busiest Congress in recent
history and placing repeal-and-replace
at the front of the line.
Health Care in America By
Yet in private
sessions that week, Republicans worried about being saddled with a politically
toxic “Trumpcare,” with some acknowledging that their dual promises — repealing
the law swiftly without pulling the rug out from Americans — could not be
will own it,” Representative Tom McClintock of California said, according to an
audio recording from the gathering. “Lock, stock and barrel.”
pressed on, slogging through boiling
town halls that called to mind the Democrats’ fate in 2009. [The Republicans pushed ahead in the House
and then the Senate despite angry protests by voters, polls showing declining
support for Republican repeal and replace.The CBO report showed that millions would lost health care.Yet, it’s ‘full speed ahead, damn the
torpedoes’ (health care woes for the poor, elderly and those with pre-existing
conditions, ‘let them eat home remedies’]
Speaker Paul D.
Ryan gamely played the salesman, delivering a slide-show presentation on live
television with his sleeves rolled up for a bill that his president would
eventually deride as “mean.” After pulling a planned vote in March, the House
passed its version in May.
Senators were less convinced. From the
start, a fissure emerged between those hoping to repeal the law and sort out a
replacement later and those who insisted they must be done in tandem.
Republican leaders in Congress planned to take the first approach. But that
strategy quickly unraveled, with Mr. Trump demanding a simultaneous repeal and
In the upper
chamber, where Republicans hoped to develop their own bill, the stumbles
arrived quickly. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,
the majority leader, assembled a working [closed door] group of 13 senators to
draft the legislation — all of them male [Republicans] — excluding Ms.
Murkowski and Ms. Collins.
not just from moderates like Ms. Collins but from reliable Republicans in some
unlikely places: Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, Senator Jerry Moran of
Kansas, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who told any reporter within earshot
that he did not have enough information to even form a firm opinion.
At the same
scandal shadowed Mr. Trump with increasing urgency, delivering a deluge of
distractions. . .
In id-May, Mr.
McCain, who was at the time not considered a potential swing vote on health care
legislation, was asked if Republicans might be more willing to buck Mr. Trump
on policy matters given the circumstances.
kidding me?” the senator shot back. “Do you think that I am not known — you
think my reputation is that I go along?”
Even on matters specific to health
care, Mr. Trump was not helping. At a lunch with Republican senators at the White House
in June, he savaged the House measure and called for a more “generous” bill in
the Senate, injecting himself into the chamber’s delicate negotiations.
was seated directly to Mr. Trump’s right. As he ticked off soaring premiums in
different states, the president leaned over to her. “I hate to say this to you,
Lisa, but in Alaska, they’ve gone up 207 percent on Obamacare,” he said.
Weeks later, at
another White House lunch, another fence-sitting Republican, Senator Dean
Heller of Nevada, was seated in the same position. “Look, he wants to remain a
senator, doesn’t he?” Mr. Trump said.
The recruitment efforts grew more
ham-fisted with time. After a vote on Tuesday to proceed to a debate on health
care repeal, which only Ms. Murkowski and Ms. Collins opposed among
Republicans, Ms. Murkowski received a phone call: Mr. Trump had directed his
interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, to remind the senator of issues affecting her
state that are controlled by the Interior Department, according to people
familiar with a phone call between the two.
probably get away with treating House Republicans lke lackeys or toadies, but
Senators are a proud, six-year term bunch.Trump may be gone before the come up for reelection.Trump just doesn’t understand the
Senate.They demand respect from the
President.Trump had already alienated
McCain with his tasteless insult of McCain’s POW days. Anyone who is a veteran,
esp. a Viet Nam veteran should have been outraged.Yet, I’m sure some were in such a bromance
with Trump that they voted for him anway.You don’t insult Viet Nam war heroes.Further, Trump had alientated many Senators with his attacks on former
Senator, now Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.Trump has met his worst enemy
and it is not the media, it is him]
McCain’s startling diagnosis of brain cancer had an impact — and not just on
“That was the
low point,” Ms. Collins said, recalling a phone call with Mr. McCain after the
diagnosis. “It made me realize that even though I was under a lot of pressure,
it didn’t compare to what he was going through. It reminded me of how very
personal and important health care is.”
On that initial
vote, Mr. McCain had been a qualified yes, returning from treatment to deliver
a short-term balm to Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans.
But his final
decision awaited. At home in Arizona, Mr. McCain had been fielding calls from
senators wishing him well. He joked, on his return, that he would soon give them
cause to regret all the nice things they had said about him.
Mr. McCain had
come back to the Capitol with a plea for his colleagues, delivered on Tuesday
in a soaring address from the floor: “Let’s trust each other,” he said,
lamenting the state of the institution. “Let’s
return to regular order.”
All week after
that, Democrats approached him, praising the speech, with a request of their
own: Help the Senate get there.
“I know,” Mr.
McCain told them repeatedly. “I know.”
As Thursday night slid toward Friday
morning, a group of Republicans, including Mr. McCain, demanded assurances from
Mr. Ryan that the House would not simply pass the slapdash legislation that
many viewed as a placeholder.
The White House thought it had
persuaded Mr. McCain by assuaging him on two fronts: Administration officials had been in
touch with Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, whom Mr. McCain had looked to for
guidance, and nudged the governor to make clear to Mr. McCain that he was in
favor of keeping the process going. And
Trump aides made certain that Mr. Ryan assured Mr. McCain in a phone call that
the so-called “skinny” repeal bill at hand would not become law. Mr. McConnell
appeared confident as well, for a time.