Mar 20, 2017

So, about that "Phase 3" of Obamacare replacement

I was all set to give you an in-depth look at all of the health care bills Republicans are lining up for "Phase 3" of Obamacare replacement — all the proposals they can't put in the budget "reconciliation" bill.

There are substantive reasons to learn about the pros and cons and all of them. But here's the problem: All of them might be able to pass the House pretty easily, but then they'd all need Democratic votes to pass the Senate, since they'd need 60 votes.

Here's the list so far:

  • Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 — eliminating the antitrust protection for insurance providers (House voting this week)
  • Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017 — association health plans (House voting this week)
  • Medical malpractice reform (later this month)
  • Protecting self-insurance (later this month)
  • Selling health insurance across state lines (House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing coming soon)

So I asked around about whether any of them could get enough Democratic votes, and here's what a Senate Democratic leadership aide told me: "No they will not. We are happy to work with Republicans to improve health care but they have to drop repeal first. If they manage to pass a repeal bill, they're on their own. There won't be a phase 3."

Sen. Ted Cruz actually laughed at the idea on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday when John Dickerson asked him about it. "That ain't going to happen," Cruz said, calling it "the sucker's bucket." So, moving along ....

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