New Bill Same As The Old Bill

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined from left by, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks about getting past last week’s failure to pass a health care overhaul bill and rebuilding unity in the Republican Conference, at the Capitol,  in Washington, Tuesday, March 28, 2017.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The new wrinkle today in the House GOP’s desperate effort to round up enough votes to repeal Obamacare is another proposed amendment to the bill. It is designed to win over moderates but would actually do very little to move the dial on the key policy imperatives of the bill. It’s important to understand that because the tone and tenor of the political coverage will tend to downplay it. It’s much more fun to cover the will they or won’t they get the votes and the shuttle diplomacy up and down Pennsylvania Avenue than to grapple with the underlying policy implications of the bill.

Would this new amendment fundamentally change the fact that some 24 million people will lose coverage under the GOP’s Obamacare replacement? No.

Would the new amendment, which reportedly provides additional funding for states to set up high risk pools, be enough money to make the high risk pools work? Not even close, according to the research on why high risk pools failed in the past.

If you’re a moderate Republican looking for a way out of this mess, the new amendment doesn’t really offer you anything on the policy side. It might be a fig leaf for some who didn’t want to buck leadership or the president. But it doesn’t significantly change where the bill stood yesterday before the amendment was floated.

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