Another Republican Health Care Bill?


Congress is in recess, but Robert Costa reports that Republicans are still hard at work on yet another health care bill:

So the plan is to gavel the House back into session on Tuesday and then vote on the bill on Wednesday. Really?

I can well imagine. The Republican leadership is stuck: the only way to pass a health care bill is to do it fast, before there’s a CBO score and a million phone calls and an outbreak of fighting between moderates and HFC ultras. But there’s a limit to how far they can push even the folks who sympathize with them. I mean, negotiate in secret, drop the text, and then give everyone 24 hours to read it before holding a vote? That’s a mockery of your own caucus, let alone everyone else.

I confess that I don’t quite get the point of all this anyway. Even if these junior high school antics manage to get a bill passed in the House, it still has to go to the Senate, where it won’t sail through in 24 hours. There will be plenty of time for the CBO score and all the rest, not to mention negotiations between the House and Senate. One way or another, this process will take a while. So what’s gained by making every Republican in the House take a difficult vote when the outcome will most likely be the same as last time?

This whole thing is crazy. I still don’t quite understand how gutting health care helps tax reform down the road, but let’s assume it does. Who cares? Without the health care bill, Republicans can still pass any tax bill they want with a ten-year expiration. So just do it. Then extend it next year. And the next. Keep doing this every year, and they’re guaranteed to have at least ten years of their tax plan after they lose power. Of course, if Democrats ever win total control of Congress and the presidency, they’ll change things, but they can do that regardless.

It sure seems like Republicans are spending a lot of political capital for not much benefit. In Washington, ten years might as well be forever. They should just shore up Obamacare a little to get it off their plates, pass a ten-year tax bill, and declare victory.

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