After emerging from a 2-hour meeting with lawmakers, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced on Tuesday that a consensus had been reached, and that lawmakers would move swiftly on another bill to repeal or replace Obamacare. Alluding to the lack of support that prompted the cancellation of last week’s vote, Ryan added, “We are all going to work together and listen together until we get this right”.
President Trump promises health care reform will “happen very quickly”
The announcement was followed by optimistic comments voiced by President Trump on Tuesday night. Speaking to a reception for Senators and their wives at the White House, Trump said, “I know that we’re all going to make a deal on health care…. I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly.” Trump also reiterated his willingness to work with entrenched Democrats on a bipartisan bill. Said Trump, “Hopefully it’ll start being bipartisan, because everybody really wants the same thing: We want greatness for this country that we love.”
Hopefully it’ll start being bipartisan, because everybody really wants the same thing: We want greatness for this country that we love.” – President Donald Trump
No Democrats supported the proposed replacement healthcare legislation, preferring instead to continue to support the collapsing Obamacare system. However, after several key Republicans also refused to support the new bill, allegedly over their belief that it did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare, Ryan was forced to cancel the scheduled vote on Friday.
Only 2% reduction in uninsured under Obamacare
Despite liberal promises, Obamacare has been a monumental failure. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) estimates that nearly 27.9 million people under the age of 65 remain uninsured as of September 30, 2016, representing less than a 2 percent decrease in the number of uninsured since the passage of the controversial law.
Insurance premiums, however, have increased nationally by an average of 25 percent. As a result of staggering premium cost increases, millions of Americans have been forced to pay more, for inferior insurance coverage, offered by an ever-decreasing pool of providers. As of January of this year, more than 1000 American counties now have only one insurance provider participating in the Obamacare system. Five entire states are now down to only one insurance company covering the entire state.
Millions opted for no coverage, despite threats of penalties
Liberal lawmakers such as Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claim that Obamacare has been welcomed by millions. The IRS, however, tells a different tale. According to a Jan. 9, 2017 letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in 2015, 6.5 million Americans chose to pay the penalty rather than enroll in Obamacare. An additional 12.7 million obtained an exemption, while an additional 4.3 million simply ignored it altogether. In total, some 23.5 million Americans chose to not participate in Obamacare, despite threats of penalties.
Cautious optimism mixed with skepticism
Following the meeting Tuesday with Speaker Ryan, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala) stated that, unless a bi-partisan bill can be swiftly passed, he and other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus would work to pass an alternative bill that simply repeals Obamacare in its entirely. Said Brooks, “We’ll find out who is truly for repeal of Obamacare and who is not.”
Senator John Cornyn (R – TX) voiced the sentiment of many regarding Democratic party obstinacy, “My hope is that Democrats will quit gloating at our inability to get it done on a party-line basis and join us in fixing [the law]”. Cornyn is not optimistic about gaining Democratic support, however, stating he didn’t expect that would happen until Democrats “have to start answering to the people who are being hurt by the failures of Obamacare.”
Speaker Ryan (R-WI), however, appeared hopeful following the meeting. “We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” Ryan said. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all that.”
Majority Whip Steve Scalise ( R-LA) agreed, offering, “I think we’re closer today to repealing Obamacare than we’ve ever been before, and surely even closer than we were Friday.”