FROM Dean Clancy
Obamacare's dead… long live Obamacare After seven years of promises and control of the White House and Congress, Republicans are still struggling to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. The latest effort's alive for the moment, but the "no" votes of three GOP senators are likely to kill it before time runs out at midnight on Friday. The Graham-Cassidy bill , named for its authors, is so radical that many state Republican insurance commissioners are dead set against it. Even senators who'll vote for it admit it's more about politics than healthcare. We get a progress report.
'Replace' failed, 'repeal and delay' is dead. What's the GOP plan? The Republican-controlled Senate has failed in its attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, a goal the party has had since 2010. It started last night when two senators defected, which apparently caught Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell off guard . This morning he told reporters, "I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful," adding that he would push for a vote on a repeal-only bill. But that appears to be already "dead on arrival." President Trump now says that the government will now let Obamacare fail. What does the GOP's failure tell us about Republican leadership on the Hill and in the White House?
McConnell hits headwinds, delays health bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants his version of health care reform passed by Thursday. It will only take two Republican defectors to break seven years of promises. Several moderates and conservatives are threatening to vote "no." Yesterday's report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the number of Americans with insurance will drop by 22 million in 10 years. That was enough for his fellow Republican Susan Collins to get off a series of tweets announcing that she will vote against even starting debate . She says the bill hurts "most vulnerable Americans," threatens "access to healthcare in rural areas," and doesn't fix problems in her state of Maine, where "hospitals are already struggling." So today McConnell delayed the vote until after the Fourth of July recess.
A Republican 'victory' that might not last With some help from the President, House Republicans have shown they can pass a bill, but the GOP still hasn't shown it can govern. Some Congressmen who voted to repeal and replace Obamacare didn't have time to read the measure. Some senators say they'll start over from scratch. Nobody knows what the House bill would cost or how many people would lose health insurance. It is clear that tax breaks would go to the wealthy. Democrats are already targeting Republicans for next year's mid-term elections. How confident should they be?
Will the Affordable Care Act become the Unaffordable Care Act? The Congressional Budget Office has some bad news for House Speaker Paul Ryan and others who've vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare. The CBO has pronounced that the American Health Care Act would leave 14 million people without health insurance next year, 24 million in years to come. Healthcare premiums for a 64-year old would go from $1700 a year to $14,600. Wealthier people would get tax cuts. That might not pass the House. In the Senate, it's likely dead on arrival, and it hardly meets the President's promise of "insurance for everybody." We look at the stumbling blocks to a promise Republicans have been making for seven years.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?