TrumpCare is NOT DEAD. Repeat: TrumpCare is not dead. Far from it. This is starting to look like a kitchen sink strategy from Senate Republicans: use every tactic you have at once, and maybe something will work. It won’t—as long as you don’t let up.
Here’s what we think Mitch McConnell is trying to do.
1. Shore up the extreme conservatives.
- It would cause 18 million people to lose insurance in the first year alone, with 32 million losing their insurance by 2026.
- Premiums would increase by 25% in the first year, before doubling by 2026.
- CBO predicts one out of ten Americans would be living in an area with no insurance options in 2018—and by 2026 it would be three out of four.
Conservative senators, like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have been demanding a vote to fully repeal Obamacare. McConnell may think that by giving them this vote, even if it fails, they may open up to a repeal with some kind of replacement included.
2. Bully moderates.
In 2015, many Republicans that have expressed concern about TrumpCare voted for this full repeal bill, back when they had the safety of Obama’s veto to protect them from the consequences of their vote. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote no then. Many, like Heller, Capito and Murkowski, will be under pressure to repeat their vote. However, unlike in 2015, the repeal bill would be signed by Trump and the American people would suffer the consequences of that vote.
3. Make TrumpCare look less bad.
Compared to the full repeal bill, which causes 32 million people to lose insurance, the Senate TrumpCare bill “only” causes 22 million people to lose insurance. And as recently as just a few days ago, that was enough for a handful of moderate Republicans to oppose the bill. Yet, when faced with voting for 32 million uninsured, moderates may see TrumpCare in a more favorable light.
McConnell could easily strike a “compromise” and, if the full repeal fails, offer up some “new” version of TrumpCare, likely with as much extra money for hold out Senators (think the Polar Payoff) as it will take to buy them off. He is particularly focused on Senator Murkowski and Senator Capito, and plans to offer them more money to help move people losing Medicaid into the health insurance marketplace. This plan doesn’t work because these people still won’t be able to afford the coverage they need, and that they had under Medicaid.
And on July 19, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services released a fake score of the Cruz Amendment. That provision, in reality, would destroy insurance markets and devastate patients but the Administration is pushing this bogus score as another way of making TrumpCare look “not as bad.”
4. Distract you.
House TrumpCare was able to pass in part because the media’s attention had been distracted by other things and many thought their bill was dead. McConnell may be trying to replicate their success. For example, next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing with Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr, which will mean Russia dominates the headlines. While we need to get justice on Trump’s collusion with Russia, we cannot let them distract our energy so that the pressure lets up on their attempts to kick millions of people off health insurance.
Remember: Paul Ryan declared defeat on TrumpCare, saying “Obamacare is the law of the land”—only to bring it back from the dead less than two months later. Let’s not let that happen this time.
We stopped them before. We can stop them again.
No Senator should support this bill, whether they supported TrumpCare or not. The full repeal goes far beyond even what TrumpCare would do. That means every Senator should oppose both the bill and the motion to proceed, but especially the ones that “had concerns” with previous versions of TrumpCare. This is the most extreme attempt yet at dismantling the American people’s healthcare, but we’ve stopped or delayed all previous attempts. We can kill this bill, too.
SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE
Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. Can you tell me how Senator [ ] plans to vote on the motion to proceed on the health care bill?
Staffer: The Senator hasn’t made a decision on that yet.
Caller: That’s terrible. Senator [ ] should absolutely oppose any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is a reckless move that Mitch McConnell is making out of desperation with no plan whatsoever as to how the ACA would be replaced. The Congressional Budget Office says 32 million people will lose their insurance and that premiums will double. How could Senator support that?
Staffer: But those numbers aren’t accurate because this is just repealing now with a replacement to come later. We won’t let people go without health insurance.
Caller: That’s ridiculous. If Congress can’t find a compromise today, why should we believe it will find one in a year or two? This is playing games with people's lives.
Staffer: Again, Senator hasn’t made a decision yet.
Caller: Well I want Senator [ ] to make a decision, and oppose any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, especially if there is no plan in place to replace it. I want the Senator to vote against the motion to proceed and against the bill itself.
Staffer: Thank you. I’ll let the Senator know your thoughts.
Caller: Thank you. Please take down my contact information so you can let me know how Senator [ ] votes.