A very strange day in Washington as Republicans failed, as they have for seven years, to come up with a viable alternative to Obamacare.
The nugget that probably best captures the day came from the Congressional Budget Office. It assessed the most recent version of the bill and concluded that it will still take coverage away from 24 million people, just like the original version of the bill, but will cost an additional $186 billion to do so.
Let me say that again: The revised bill spends $186 billion more to not cover the same number of people. What a win!
Keep that in mind as the House proceeds to vote on an even newer version of the bill Friday, that still hasn't been released, and that the CBO will not be given time to score in advance.
White House demands vote Friday on Obamacare repeal, come hell or high water. No CBO score. Still no bill! But from what we know of it, it's an objectively terrible piece of legislation, whether you're a purveyor of sane health care policy or a conservative looking for ideological purity. Ryan is going along with the Trump plan to ram it through. Do Republicans have the votes? Our latest dispatch after a long evening on the Hill.
The potentially historic vote to end Medicaid as we know it and repeal Obamacare was postponed today, in a devastating setback for Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. But we're still closely monitoring the ongoing negotiations on the Hill this evening, with Tierney Sneed and Alice Ollstein on the ground.
Here's a rough outline of what we're expecting:
Reports coming out that the vote on the House GOP's Obamacare repeal vote will be postponed. Nothing official yet. But it's looking mighty unrealistic that this is happening today. Here's the latest from TPM's Tierney Sneed.
It would appear that Paul Ryan still lacks the votes to pass the Obamacare repeal and replace bill (that also ends Medicaid as we know it) tomorrow. Reports are he will be putting the squeeze on individual members this evening, but in the meantime a deal of sorts is apparently being worked out to win over recalcitrant conservatives by promising to gut Obamacare's 10 essential health benefits, the bare minimums insurance plans must cover – not now, but later in the Senate. Alice Ollstein has the details.
It's been pretty much nonstop since the conventions last year, so I'm off for one week of vacation, hopefully totally off the grid. We will try to keep you up to date with the very latest links in the editors blog to our team's essential reporting on Obamacare repeal, as well as the latest developments Trump/Russia and the seemingly limitless number of other stories we are tracking.
In the meantime, if you haven't already, please wish me a good send off by signing up for Prime. It is critical to our whole operation. And we have big things coming this spring.
I'll see you in a week.
Now that we've learned that Breitbart and Infowars have somehow figured into the FBI's counter-intelligence probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, I want to return to a topic we discussed late last summer and into the fall. At the time we saw a disconcerting pattern. Trump friends, associates and staffers would go on TV make some wild claim that no one had heard before. Then it would turn out that the only other place the story had appeared was on RT or SputnikNews or even some Russian language propaganda mill.