Graham-Cassidy Is Dead

Alex Edelman via ZUMA

The Graham-Cassidy health care bill is dead:

Senate Republicans, emerging from their weekly policy lunch Tuesday, said they would not move ahead with a vote on the most recent repeal legislation, sponsored by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

….Graham, however, insisted the effort would be revived later. “We’re coming back at this after taxes,” he said, referring to the tax-cut effort that Republican leaders have pledged to push forward this fall. “We’ll get there,” he added. “We’re going to fulfill our promise.”

Graham is referring to the possibility of writing reconciliation instructions into the FY18 budget that include both tax cuts and health care. With these guys I’d never say never, but it’s hard to believe that Mitch McConnell wants yet another futile fight over Obamacare heading into the midterm elections. His preference is probably to work on passing a base-friendly tax cut and leaving it at that.

Ironically, then, it’s turned out that the biggest threat to Obamacare has never been repeal. It’s been the simple election of a Republican president who’s determined to sabotage it. Donald Trump has dithered over CSR subsidies; cut back the enrollment period; slashed the advertising and outreach budget; and—yes, really—declared that the website will be shut down every Sunday for 12 hours for “maintenance.”

What else can he do? Shutting down the website weekly never would have occurred to me, so I think I just have to admit that Republicans are way better at creative ratfuckery than I am and leave it at that. I have no idea what they’ll come up with next. But I’m sure they’re working hard on it.