Whats going to happen today?

The short answer is mass chaos.

The longer answer is we will seeing some non-controversial bills come up under suspension rules this morning.  Around 10:00 AM, the Rules Committee will vote on the most recent set of changes that were placed in the bill overnight.     Those changes (stripping or punting EHB mainly) are probably going to cost a quarter of a trillion dollars and could lead to millions more not getting coverage but they are not waiting for a CBO score.  Once a special accelerated rule is voted on, the actual voting starts.

My opinion is that we are in good shape if there is an immediate blocking coalition of 23 Republican No votes in the first six or seven minutes.  At that point, the internal logic of the Republican caucus makes voting Yes and seeing the bill Fail become a no reward position so we could see a cascade towards No.  If we don’t see that, I would not be optimistic.

My gut feeling is that AHCA either passes by less than three votes or fails by more than fifteen. I can’t see the incentive structure for a narrow failure as the House leadership will hold the vote open for hours to arm twist a couple of hold-outs.

So call the House one last time.

Update 1:


He is from New Jersey, part of leadership and as of this morning he was in the New York Times Undecided/Unclear column. So him moving to a clear No is intriguing.

Friday Morning Open Thread: Some Well-Earned Schadenfreude

Anything is possible in this fallen world, so there’s still a chance that Ryan and Trump between them can bribe, charm, or bully enough Repub holdouts into voting for their “health care” “plan” (Trump air quotes). But the betting odds are against it, at least for today… and it’s always sweet to see such a bunch of grifters and cravens suffer.

Apart from cheering for more GOP defectors, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?

Call Congress

There is a chance that we can win tomorrow.

Let’s work to increase that chance. Call Congress. If you are represented by a Democrat or a Republican who is on the 100% No list as maintained by the New York Times , thank them, or their interns.

If you are represented by an Undecided or Concerned Republican, encourage them to vote No.

If you are represented by a highly probable yes Republican, tell them to have fun losing in November of 2018.

There is no guarantee that we can win tomorrow. There might be a seven hour vote as arms get twisted and bribes concessions are offered to flip votes. But I would rather try and fail then resign myself to learned helplessness. So call.

Here is the House Rep finder:

Update 1 For the waverers, they will vote to be on the winning side. If there are twenty three or more quick GOP NO votes, we will see a cascade of No Votes as there is no upside to be a Yes and Fail. If there is only 10-20 GOP NO votes in the first 12 minutes, we’re in for a long afternoon of arm twisting.

Late Night Open Thread: Violins So Tiny, Even Lord Smallgloves Could Play One

What would a win look like?

The AHCA is supposed to come up for a vote this week. The House Republicans want a vote on Thursday as that would be seven years to the day that the ACA was signed. As of now, it looks like the GOP does not have the votes to pass it through the House. They definitely don’t have the votes to pass it through the Senate. The votes in the House might be found if the Medicaid provisions are made harsher and
shorter. And for every screw tightened on Medicaid to get a House Freedom Caucus vote, the further the bill moves away from 51 votes in the Senate.

If the AHCA is to be defeated, it will be defeated by a coalition of unanimous Democratic opposition and Republicans who face state wide electorates and know that there is value in what the ACA does. So what does a win look like if and after the AHCA is defeated?

Right now, a repeat of the Social Security strategy of 2005 of Hell NO is the Democratic Alternative makes a lot of sense. The goals of the two parties are diametrically opposed and clear partisan and policy responsibility align incentives nicely.

The Social Security strategy of 2005 of offering nothing and listening to nothing is a tempting strategy but I think it is a flawed strategy for one critical differentiation if the AHCA is defeated. In 2005 the Bush Administration did not have the legal nor administrative tools to wreck Social Security on their own. The checks were still going to be processed on time, the electronic fund transfers would still go out and the money would still be collected by the IRS. The program was on auto-pilot and immune from administrative wrecking.

The ACA is not like that. It can be administratively wrecked. The easiest way to wreck the Exchanges is for CMS to declare that they will not pay the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies. If the CSRs are not paid, the market is empty as soon as state law allows insurers to terminate policies. No carrier would offer. The only downside to that approach to a Repeal but not Replace Republican is that there are too many bloody fingerprints on the knife. More subtle attacks include a quiet campaign of telling insurers that the mandate will not be enforced, decreased maintenance or improvements to Healthcare.gov, active advertising against enrollment and other ways of making the risk pool horrendous while highlighting the high rates that non-subsidized individuals pay to compensate for the increased variance and sicker risk pool.

The Medicaid expansion is vulnerable as well given the recent guidance that CMS will allow non-health related conditions to tie to 1115 waivers. An actively opposed CMS can significantly decrease Medicaid enrollment by encouraging work requirements, frequent re-determination, and more complex enrollment procedures.

The ACA is administratively vulnerable. It can not be killed administratively, but it can be lamed.

So the way to protect the fundamental goal of the ACA is to get the Republicans who would have voted against the AHCA onboard with modifications that make those Republicans key stakeholders and defenders of health care reform against their own party.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Salmagundi




More grounded than Howie Kurtz… and she’s a professional cartoon character…

… (okay, voice actress)

The New “Improved” Muslim Travel Ban Struck Down

Amazing how much of a prissy little old man Lord Smallgloves looks in this clip — that pursed-lipped, finger-wagging, unnaturally-curved backbone posture is every neutered assistant principal reprimanding the “young toughs” for their unseemly camaraderie. The opposite of #WINNING!

“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump said during a rally in Nashville. “This new order was tailored to the dictates of the 9th Circuit’s — in my opinion — flawed ruling.”

Trump called the court actions blocking his orders “unprecedented judicial overreach.”…

“And let me tell you something, I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place,” Trump said.

The President’s comments came during a previously scheduled campaign rally. It took place shortly after US District Court Judge Derrick Watson blocked Trump’s executive order. The new travel ban was set to take effect Thursday.

The new executive order removed Iraq from the original list of seven banned countries, stripped away language about prioritizing religious minorities in the refugee admissions process and did not include an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. But it still banned citizens of six Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and temporarily stopped the admission of all refugees…

As the “bad news” drew jeers from the crowd, Trump explained that he needed to be cautious in his criticism, an apparent reference to the flak he took after calling the first federal judge who ruled against his executive order a “so-called judge.”

“I have to be nice otherwise I’ll get criticized for — for speaking poorly about our courts. I’ll be criticized by these people, among the most dishonest people in the world,” Trump said referring to reporters in the room.
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