U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept.22, 2016. 
Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

‘Mortally wounded’ Republican health plan starts moving backwards

Updated
The Republican health care bill isn’t just struggling; in the wake of a brutal Congressional Budget Office report, “Trumpcare” is actually losing ground when its proponents expected to be making progress.
As White House officials attempt to discredit the conclusions of a Congressional Budget Office report on the GOP-backed health care plan, Republican lawmakers already skeptical of the bill are using the report to further bolster their concerns and, in some cases, opposition.

A number of influential Republican lawmakers on Tuesday pointed to the CBO’s projected spike in Americans without health coverage and an initial rise in premiums as evidence the plan is untenable, further complicating the chances the measure will get a vote in Congress.
The CBO score was released last Monday afternoon, and yesterday, three House Republicans announced their position on their party’s bill: they’re now all opposed. The trio included Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), an influential moderate from Miami.

The picture in the Senate, where it only takes three GOP senators to vote with Democrats to kill important legislation, is almost certainly worse for the party’s leaders. Vox counted 12 Republicans senators who’ve publicly denounced and/or expressed serious concerns about the House bill, and that total doesn’t include Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who also criticized it yesterday. (Even South Dakota’s John Thune, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, suggested he’d like to see key changes to his party’s existing proposal.)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who isn’t yet included in the group of intra-party skeptics, told NBC News’ Matt Lauer this morning that the existing House plan is “mortally wounded.”

Perhaps Republican leaders – in Congress and the White House – can find greater support outside the Beltway? The evidence points in the opposite direction: Politico reports that “at least 15 Republican governors have raised concerns about the House GOP’s health care bill.” The number of GOP governors who’ve publicly endorsed the American Health Care Act, meanwhile, stands at zero.

Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and their allies aren’t just struggling at this point to move their bill forward; they’re actually moving backwards.

This is not to say that the bill is officially dead or that progressive opponents of the Republican bill can give up and focus attention elsewhere. But as things stand, proponents of the GOP plan are clearly failing.

The next step in the process is scheduled for tomorrow, when the House Budget Committee takes up the bill. I’m skeptical that the legislation will be derailed at this point in the process – Republicans outnumber Democrats on the panel by eight votes – but a few House Freedom Caucus members sit on the Budget Committee and may end up opposing the measure.

Watch this space.

Health Care

'Mortally wounded' Republican health plan starts moving backwards

Updated