by Nick Shepard – Web Editor
The World’s Greatest Health Care Plan, introduced by Texas U.S. Representative Pete Sessions on March 1, is the GOP health care plan that President Trump and many congressional Republicans touted over the course of the 2016 campaign, but in weeks following it’s release it has encountered its share of hurdles. As of now, it has been officially pulled and is unlikely to be revived in any form.
The plan has been dubbed ‘Obamacare Lite’ by some conservatives, because of its great number of similar aspects to the Affordable Care Act. While the bill does restrict the expansion of Medicaid, health care for those impoverished, much more than Obamacare did, it is extremely close to Obamacare in its actual content; how it’s paid for is where it differs.
As soon as it came out, the bill was endorsed by the president, who said on the 17 that “We are going to have a health care plan that’s second to none… These folks were ‘no’s’ yesterday, and now every single one is a ‘yes.'”, speaking of several GOP legislators who he spoke with that week.
For a majority in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan needed 215 votes. The republicans enjoy a 237-198 seat lead, so assuming no democrats would vote for the bill they could only afford to lose 22 republican votes – so the 30 member hard line conservative off-shoot of the GOP, the Freedom Caucus, threw a wrench in the plan.
After numerous talks with the Trump, Ryan, and Vice President Pence, none of the members of the Freedom Caucus would sway from their views, so the votes just weren’t there.
The bill was originally intended to have its vote held on March 23rd, the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, but in an attempt to garner more votes it was pushed until the 24th. The time for the vote rolled around, but rather than be embarrassed by having his bill fail, Paul Ryan made the decision to pull the plan and hold no vote at all.
Ryan was decried by many conservatives and democrats alike in the wake of the failure, for failing to come up with a good enough bill in the seven years he had. Trump was quick to shift the blame from he and Ryan to the democrats, of whom he said: “We had no Democrat support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very difficult thing to do.”
The day after the bill’s failure, on ABC’s This Week, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal. You can’t tweet your way through it. You can’t threaten and intimidate and say I’ll walk away. It’s more complicated… But I would say this, we Democrats, provided our Republican colleagues drop replace and stop undermining the ACA, are willing to work with our Republican friends.”
One of the big problems the left had with the bill is that it cancels tax penalties for those who opt not to have health insurance at all – this would result in millions simply not signing up for insurance in order to save money, at the possible cost of their own wellbeing.
The Congressional Budget Office looked at the World’s Greatest Health Care Plan in its current form and predicted that, if it were to be enacted, 14 million more people would be without health insurance by 2018. By 24, the number would reach 24 million.