Healthcare

What the Hell is “Skinny Repeal?”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We still don't know for sure what Republicans will vote on today, but they're going to vote on something.

The current word is that they'll vote on a series of measure that will fail (full repeal, the Cruz amendment) before finally settling on something they're calling "skinny repeal" or maybe "Obamacare repeal-lite" if you prefer.

What the hell is "skinny repeal?"

The plan after those two votes, according to sources, is for senators to proceed to votes on a series of amendments to create what leadership has called a “skinny” repeal with the goal of eliminating Obamacare's individual mandate penalty, employer mandate penalty and the tax on medical devices.

The Senate would then go to conference with the House of Representatives where they would work out a final bill. Both chambers would then have to vote on the reconciled bill.

This doesn't make any sense even if you're a Republican congressman who hates Obamacare. Repealing the mandates without any other changes will cause premiums to spike and could even cause the individual insurance market to collapse. At the same time, repealing the medical device tax without any other changes will leave elements of the law unfunded.

In each case, this would increase costs for patients and the government and Republicans will own it. It'll be their responsibility.

I can't see why conservatives who passionately believe in repealing every word of Obamacare would vote for this as it contains almost nothing they're asking for. It's true that they've been calling for repeal of the coverage mandate since the beginning, but that's a low hanging fruit compared to what they've set their sights on.

If they do this, there's a very good chance that Trump, not knowing anything about anything, will declare victory and declare Obamacare dead even if that's not exactly the case.

By the way, John McCain, who is returning to Washington to vote, also doesn't know what they're going to vote on.

  • muselet

    If I were a smaller person, I would wish some unpleasant but not necessarily fatal disease upon the 51 Senators who voted in favor of the Motion To Proceed.

    –alopecia

  • John McCain can go fuck himself. He may have been a hero. Now he is a hypocritical bastard that voted yes to killing Americans like me en masse.

  • Draxiar

    “Repealing the mandates without any other changes will cause premiums to spike and could even cause the individual insurance market to collapse”.

    JM, I think you answered why they would vote for it though. They want to further it’s collapse so they can say that it’s broken and push to completely validate repeal. They know that their constituents won’t realize that their Senators that voted to do this are the ones that helped the collapse in the first place.

    The Dems have to spell out and detail what the ramifications of this are! They STILL have (yet) to sell the merits of the ACA meanwhile pointing out the flaws that need to be fixed. Stand by the legislation! DON’T BE NICE!

    • Badgerite

      That’s it exactly. It is a classic legislative shell game. They are daring the public to keep track of it. Like the Russian money laundering that it takes a Special Prosecutor and a team of expert investigators to sort out.
      Kind of like that. They have basically followed the lead of the Money-Launderer-in-Chief. They want to vote to kick tens of millions of Americans off healthcare. They just don’t want to have to “own” it. All the organizations and entities and professions in this country that have to provide healthcare to the public are against it for a reason.
      It makes their job damned near impossible. It is a plan to derail Obamacare in favor of whopping tax cuts for Wall Street and the 1%. To return access to healthcare to a system where that access is rationed in society on the basis of income. On the basis of wealth. Which is wasteful of humanity and the human potential in society.
      Not to mention immoral, unjust and un-Christian. Time to go to single payer. Medicare for all. Now.

      • Victor the Crab

        What the hell does Ryan do in church anyway. Take up space?

        He’s there to take money out of the collection plates and give them to his corporate overlords.

        • Badgerite

          LOL. I don’t doubt it.

  • Have been hearing pundits say that they don’t think McCain would fly back unless he plans to vote “Yes” on whatever the f*ck it is. Which makes me furious….McCain, who is exempted from the effects of the repeal, will fly across country while undergoing one of the most expensive medical treatments in the history of the earth for an incredibly rare and deadly disease so he can vote Yes so that millions of other Americans will not be able to get coverage for even the most basic medical needs like mammograms and annual physicals. If he votes yes, he can go f*ck himself. If he votes yes, whatever sympathy I might have had for him is gone. If he votes yes, he can’t die soon enough in my opinion. I know that’s harsh, but the hypocrisy of it all has me royally pissed off today.

    • He not only voted yes but took the opportunity while he was speaking, televised, to join in the mass delusion that the ACA was rammed through in total darkness. 😡

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    • Badgerite

      Never overlook Senator McCain’s politics. He is very much an Alex Guinness character type in Bridge on the River Kwai. The very character trait that made him loyal to his fellow POW’s at the Hanoi Hilton lead him to be loyal to a party that nominated a scumbag who insulted all the POWs McCain showed such loyalty to. Even if it means taking away from the people of his state the very same kind of healthcare that has so far saved his life so that he could be with his family into his 80th year and hopefully beyond.

      • He disgusts me. Loyalty in the absence of morality does not a good man make. I’m so angry today, I don’t even have the words to express myself. Gahh!

        • Badgerite

          I didn’t say it did. The story of Bridge on the River Kwai is of a man with character traits that in and of themselves are good, like pride one’s abilities and one’s work and a refusal to break, becoming bad when these qualities are engaged without deeper thought about what you are supporting and the ultimate real world result of your actions. But with McCain, it should be expected. He has always been thus.

          • I understand what you meant. I just wanted to bitch some more. 🙂 I’m naive and hard headed. I keep thinking McCain will do the right thing and in the end it’s all just talk. Fool me once shame on him, fool me twice…..

          • Badgerite

            Politically, McCain has always been all over the boards. But I never thought he would do anything on this vote but tow the party line. That’s his tribe. And in the end, unlike the movies, he won’t have any epiphanies or question what he has done.

        • Badgerite

          Don’t blame you. There are so many people that will be hurt by this if it actually passes. Not just now but for years to come.

  • Aynwrong

    Unreal. If venality were a substance you’d need a squeegee the size of Rhode Island to clean up the floor of the Senate after today.

  • waspuppet

    “I can’t see why conservatives who passionately believe in repealing every word of Obamacare would vote for this as it contains almost nothing they’re asking for.”

    All they have to do is say they repealed Obamacare. Literally nothing else matters — except the tax cuts for rich people that I’m sure will magically appear in this mystery bill at some point today.

    This bill, whatever’s in it, should be called the That N!%%@r Was Never Really President Act, because that’s what it is. And yeah, they’ve got a huge amount of work to do in conference, but like an abusive alcoholic, whatever gets them one more day of not having to face their failures is what they’ll do.