Commentary: The House Obamacare Vote: First Step To Repeal Or Sham?

by Staff

Through the passage of the American Health Care Act, the House has now voted-out a bill that some of our friends are calling a first step in the complete repeal of Obamacare, and that other friends are calling a complete sham and a step backward for Republicans.

According to a transcript posted by Breitbart’s Ian Hanchett, on Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Your World,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) argued the revised American Health Care Act is “the first time that Congress Republicans have affirmatively put their stamp of approval on a program where federal money, taxpayer money, is paid to insurance companies.”

Senator Paul later in the interview said, “I just don’t want to replace [Obamacare] with Obamacare-lite, or another federal program. The programs they put in place will be there forever. So, the refundable tax credit, which is a subsidy by another name, will be there forever. And this — these buying — these high-risk pools they want to create, Republicans used to hate the idea. They hated the idea when they were called risk corridors, and they were giving money to insurance companies. They were bailouts, when it was a Democrat idea. Now that it’s a Republican idea, they keep sweetening it up.”

Senator Paul concluded the interview by saying, “I want everybody in the individual market to be protected against pre-existing conditions, by getting into the group market, and let market forces work. It can work, but the current bill acknowledges that it doesn’t work, and then we just subsidize the insurance companies, which I think is deplorable.”

On the other hand, the March for Life issued a statement on Thursday praising the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House — legislation that, if it becomes law, would defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other abortion providers for one year.

The March for Life points to the text of the bill that states: “(Sec. 103) For one year, certain federal funds may not be made available to states for payments to certain family planning providers (e.g., Planned Parenthood Federation of America).” It continues:

This decision re-baselines our understanding that medical services should reflect the pro-life consensus in America that abortion is not healthcare and that taxpayer funding should not pay for abortion. As this bill moves to the Senate, we urge our U.S. Senators to follow the House’s lead and ensure that pro-life protections and the redirection of Planned Parenthood funding remain, because without it — this bill will fail.

The problem with this sunny assessment of the American Health Care Act is that Congress just passed an Omnibus spending bill that does the exact opposite – it continues funding for Planned Parenthood for the rest of this fiscal year.

Our friend conservative Congressman Ron DeSantis (FL-6) was also more optimistic about what the American Health Care Act does than was Senator Paul.

In an interview with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, reported by John Hayward, Rep. DeSantis characterized the bill as “closer to full repeal than the old GOP bill was.”

“The original Ryan bill left the architecture of Obamacare in place, which is responsible for driving up premiums and deductibles for millions and millions of Americans,” DeSantis recalled in the interview with Alex Marlow.

“Conservatives looked at that and said that’s the main reason people hate Obamacare, we’ve got to deal with that. The problem, though, that we had is that we have a critical mass of members who, even though they campaigned on repealing Obamacare, did not want to roll back the architecture of Obamacare, so we were kind of at a standstill,” DeSantis explained.

“And then, with the work of people like Mark Meadows and Tom McArthur from New Jersey, what we were able to do is say, ‘Let’s at least give the states the ability to opt out of the Obamacare regulatory structure and set up functioning markets, which will obviously allow people to have cheaper policies and will lower premiums for people.’”

“That’s not ideal,” DeSantis conceded. “We should just repeal it all. That would be the easiest thing.”

However, in Rep. DeSantis’ analysis the American Health Care Act at least cleans up the expensive morass of Obamacare regulations.

“Our plan has always been as Republicans – whether it’s Tom Price’s plan, whether it’s Paul Ryan’s Better Way, anything that had been proposed – was you have to fully repeal Obamacare,” DeSantis said.

“I mean right now, just came out with how much it costs right now, and then they sell individual market plans unsubsidized, for a family of four the average per-year and premium costs right now: $14,300,” DeSantis noted. “That’s more than some people’s mortgage payments, depending on what part of the country you live in, so that’s not a sustainable system. That is being driven because of the dysfunctional Obamacare regulatory structure.”

“This bill, it not only deals with pre-existing conditions, it deals with it three different ways. There’s a massive $100 billion fund. Then there was a Palmer-Schweikert $15 billion fund that is modeled after the main invisible risk-sharing program. And then there is another $8 billion just with this Fred Upton stuff,” he said, the latter a reference to Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-MI) decision to support the bill after an $8 billion amendment to protect people with pre-existing conditions was added.

“So, you’re talking about probably 100,000 to 130,000 people, but maybe even less because anyone that has a policy now, it doesn’t matter if you have pre-existing conditions, you can renew it and they’re not going to jack up your rates. So, it’s taken care of in multiple ways, but basically the media sets a narrative, and I think some Republicans unfortunately accept this, that Obamacare is the only way to deal with pre-existing conditions. We’ve never accepted that previous to this debate. We shouldn’t accept it,” DeSantis urged.

In our view all of our friends are correct; the American Health Care Act is “closer to full repeal than the old GOP bill was,” however, it is still “deplorable” for its insurance company subsidies and its sham defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Reprinted with Permission from



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