Senate Passes Bill to Dismantle Obamacare

“Openly welcoming a preordained veto, Republicans drove legislation to Senate passage Thursday aimed at crippling two of their favorite targets: President Barack Obama’s health care law and Planned Parenthood,” the AP reports.

“With a House rubber stamp expected in days, the bill would be the first to reach Obama’s desk demolishing his 2010 health care overhaul, one of his proudest domestic achievements, and halting federal payments to Planned Parenthood. Congress has voted dozens of times to repeal or weaken the health law and several times against Planned Parenthood’s funding, but until now Democrats thwarted Republicans from shipping the legislation to the White House.”

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  • These people work less days than ever and this is how they are spending their time. The GOP continues to waste their time and our taxpayer dollars.

    • jbinphilly

      Republican voters reward them for this. So why should they do any different?

    • Snakegirl Lyn

      While continuing to claim that there is no war on women. that’s supposedly a Democratic talking point and not real.

    • docb

      Bloody cowards and panty waists…all…! Attempting to Create DEATH PANELS across the Board…Thank heavens for President Obama…

  • They thought it was a good idea to do this right after two major shootings, one at a Planned Parenthood?

    • dmhlt_66

      Yeah, well they’re SAVED by the fact that they’re proposing to replace healthcare with …
      “Thoughts and Prayer”

      • mhandrh

        That is how they handle mass shootings — with prayer.
        WTF are they thinking? Wait.. that may be too much of an assumption.

      • rssrai

        That should be an ad against republicans.

      • Silent_Partner

        I love thed New York Daily News headline of Prayer isn’t fixing this.

      • Hawkeye

        Another pointless gesture. Not veto proof. The really big risk the GOP is taking is that they may be pushing altogether too hard against Obama. Should he start getting credit where credit is due (a lot of that is in red areas), tying the Democratic candidate to him would sink a whole pile of GOP campaigns.

    • If Planned Parenthood was defunded and shut down, then the shooting never would have happened. DUH!

    • Silent_Partner

      Well, they’re not that smart. I think we have ample evidence of this.

  • TexasLou

    I wouldn’t be at all upset if Obama brought in the media cameras to witness the veto and instead of stamping the document, he pees on it.

    • mhandrh

      What a photo op that would be!!

    • Snakegirl Lyn

      OMG- Best. Idea. EVER.

    • Travis Shaw

      Conversation before the vote:

      McConnell: Harry, please, please, please, please have your people filibuster this! You won’t be around in 2017, so why not let me keep my job?

      Reid: Sorry, Mitch.

      • embo66

        Hmmm, don’t think so.

        McConnell was one of the chief architects behind this whole thing — esp. the marrying of the PP defunding with the repeal of Obamacare, which made it much harder for anyone in the GOP caucus to vote against it. That allowed Mitch to show the doubters that he could be just as crazy conservative as they — and to supposedly pave the way for a Republican president seriously repealing the ACA in 2017. He also used the reconciliation process, which meant he only needed 51 GOP senators to vote for it in order to pass (he got 52).

        • Hawkeye

          Aint gonna be a GOP President in 2017 nor is McConnell’s GOP going to be majority then either. McConnell had to go through the motions through to veto to give a weak Ryan even enough breathing room to give Pelosi a chance to pass a cleaner bill. This is tossing a bone to the mad dogs on the fascist extreme, hoping it will be enough to allow something to squeak by to keep the government open.

          Another GOP shutdown could end up flipping the House next fall, and I think McConnell is aware of the possibiity.
          Ryan aint got a clue. What a cypher!

  • Hagar32Grady

    2016 will have a very interesting election…….. May be necessary to take back the Senate. Should have let sleeping dogs lay.

    • Cedric

      Yes it will be. Will Americans recognize the very real danger that is a GOP controlled DC? If they get the Presidency there will be hell to pay. Democrats better mobilize now to stop this tragedy of an outcome to come to fruition.

      • Hagar32Grady

        THE Donald is proof that even their constituency cannot stand them.

      • mhandrh

        I don’t know if the average voter recognizes the danger to all of us if the GOP gets more control in 2016. And considering the dearth of qualified candidates, I can’t imagine anything worse than a Republican winning the presidency in 2016.

      • Patterman

        It all has to do with turnout. Period. Democrats have to know this, but they’ve been really bad at getting people to vote.

      • Hawkeye

        It is being done.

    • APV

      Kirk and Collins were the only Republicans to vote against this bill. Do Ayotte and Portman feel confident to go with this nonsense? What happened to all that Ayotte independent streak?

      • jbinphilly

        The Republican primary electorate in their respective states is more conservative than the Republican primary electorate in Illinois and Maine. Ayotte and Portman need to fend off a primary challenge before they can think about the general.

        • APV

          Ayotte specifically chided Cruz for trying to play games with PP funding, and now goes along with this? I don’t think this vote helps freshmen Republican senators running for reelection from blue/purple states. Those are states that Obama won twice.

  • APV

    Assuming the House acts on this by the weekend, the President would have until Dec 16th to veto the bill, but Govt funding runs out Dec 11th. Obama should ignore this bill until 11th and dare the Republicans to either send a clean funding bill with no such nonsense, or let them shut the Govt down. Does the ‘thinking Republican’ Paul Ryan want to play that game?

    • mhandrh

      He certainly could do that but the average American would only hear the GOP cries of “Obama shut down the government,” they’d absolve themselves of any responsibility, the media would give them all the publicity they want and the president would be subject to more derision.
      If we had Democrats that actually had the president’s back, if we had a media that actually gave Democrats the equal time they give Repugs, if we had reporters that actually explained the turn of events, it could work. But that’s a lot of “ifs.”

  • richo123

    Congrats McConnell on achieving absolutely nothing.

  • kevinb

    Good. Now when people think “Oh, the Republicans can’t actually be so cruel as to take health insurance away from millions of poor people” or “Oh, the Republicans don’t actually support taking away affordable health care for women” we can point to this and show that the Republicans are actually that extreme.

    • jbinphilly

      Except that many voters still oppose “Obamacare.” They may like individual components of the law, but they hate “Obamacare.”

      EDIT TO ADD: Besides, in the end, I don’t expect Obamacare to be the major issue of next year’s elections. Foreign policy and national security/safety/defense will likely be it.

      • kevinb

        I fully expect Democrats are competent enough to run on the parts of the law people support, rather than the nebulous idea of the whole law.

        • Robert

          You mean like they did in 2010, 2012, and 2014?

          • kevinb

            In 2010 very little if any of the law had actually come into effect, so of course that strategy wasn’t going to work. I would argue that in 2012 the strategy was largely successful, given that President Obama won re-election. I will concede it didn’t work in 2014, but that was because of the (now-fixed) website more than anything else.

          • Robert

            My point is that in all 3 elections the Democrats never ran on the positive aspects of the law. Instead, they avoided the topic and even ran away from the law. Given that track record, I see no reason to think they’ll suddenly grow a spine in 2016.

          • Travis Shaw

            At minimum, Obama and Sherrod Brown did.

          • MrBeale

            In 2010 and 2014, Democrats ran from their accomplishments and lost.
            In 2012, they ran on them and won.

            Democrats may not always be the most politically astute creatures, but one can hope that they’ve finally figured out which of these is more viable.

          • Robert

            In 2012, I attended 4 rallies where Obama himself spoke and he never mentioned Obamacare. I went door-to-door for 3 months for his campaign and no literature mentioned it. The Democrats lost Senate seats, House seats, and even governorships and statehouses in 2012. In 2013, the GOP paid no political price for shutting down the government over Obamacare. Instead, they swept to historic victories in 2014. In 2015, Kentucky elected a Tea Party governor who campaigned to repeal the state’s very successful exchange and Medicaid expansion, despite the fact that 500,000 Kentuckians had enrolled. From the beginning, Democrats let the GOP define the ACA and it’s been a political loser ever since. Now 6 years later, it’s way too late to change anybody’s mind. I support the ACA and always have. However, Democrats have done such an absolutely terrible job of selling, defending, and implementing it that it’s become a huge political loser. Nobody will defend the ACA that’s not in a safely Democratic seat.

          • Travis Shaw

            In 2012 Democrats actually gained several seats in the House, 3 in the Senate, and only lost the governor’s race in NC.

          • Hawkeye

            Is that why nearly every red state except maybe Kansas is working toward expanding its Medicaide under the ACA, ok, under ObamaCare and proud to call it that!

        • Billly

          Expecting Democrats to be competent, particularly in a campaign, is setting the stage for disappointment.

    • mhandrh

      Was with a group of people recently and the ACA came up — they ALL complained about the huge increases in premiums at their places of work (some were owners, some were employees).
      They all blamed the president’s Obamacare — and none of them had a word of criticism for the insurance company hogs who never get enough profit.

  • thirty2

    Going after Planned Parenthood may work in the gerrymandered house, but it’s not going to fly in the Senate. There are multiple vulnerable Senate Republicans that are going to have to explain this vote to relatively liberal electorates in a presidential election. Not smart.

  • nycguy

    Just in case we forgot why we cannot afford to have a Republican in the white house next year.

  • duncan king

    How come Republican Party legislative priorities seem to be preventing the American people to “form a more perfect union.”

  • mhandrh

    Remember this people.
    A Republican president would eagerly sign this into law.

    • Zornorph

      Given the majority of the population is opposed to Obamacare, why would that be a problem?

      • Robert

        That would be a problem because at least 17 million Americans would become uninsured again.

      • growe

        The majority is opposed to health insurance companies denying care based on shaky claims of pre-existing conditions too, but we can review the GOP policy in election 2016. (One might think Senor Ryan would remember how that went for the ticket but, whatevs).

      • growe

        When asked, “do you support requiring health insurance companies to spend money on medical care for policyholders instead of bonuses for themselves and advertising” gets a pretty overwhelming response. Just because the Republican TASS agency temporarily framed O’care as a negative term doesn’t mean the content is unpopular.

        Except Republicans are “only” about propaganda, not policy or substance. That’s why Hillary will use their nominee’s head for a mop and his ass for a broom, you see.

      • WADE_NYC

        You just love to flag wave for the GOP, the pro-life party, don’t you?

        You know, the party that would rejoice at throwing Americans off their health plans making them more vulnerable to all sorts of chaos. Back to the days where pre-existing conditions and a diagnosis of cancer could lead to bankruptcy and even death.

        You are not clever. You are a fucking fraud. Wear it with pride.

        • Hawkeye

          Just hold on there WADE. Zorny got his implanted hooks triggered and there was nothing else he could say to this issue. He had no control regardless of whether what he said was factual or not.
          Give the guy a break.

    • leper

      I wonder about that. I wonder if they would even send a Republican president this bill. It’s easy to do it now because it’s great for talking points and they know Obama will veto it. But do they really want to be the party that takes away healthcare from 15 million people?

      • mhandrh

        I have no faith that they can think through it in that way. The zealots in the party are in control now — the tail is wagging the dog — and rational thinking is not part of their strategy.
        Although I understand your point — and it’s a good one — they don’t repeal the most controversial laws under Republican presidents because those laws are useful in their campaigns — but the egomaniacs and extremists of the teaparty faction of the party don’t seem inclined to think too deeply.

        • Hawkeye

          leper has a point, when the veto override fails, then both McConnell and Ryan have some latitude to negotiate. Ryan had to have McConnell’s support to get enough eventual breathing room to do anything else. I see some attempt to delay this in the House, but Obama will veto it promptly and send it back to give as much time as possible to work out the necessary bill.

          McConnell spent a pile of favors to do this, because Ryan simply did not have the ability to carry anything else on his own. Now he is expecting Ryan to be able to carry something acceptable to the President. This was meant not to pass or survive a veto but to give Ryan some breathing room hoping that he will show more guts than he has to this point and be able to resist the stupidity of the riders in time.

          • mhandrh

            Hawkeye, you and leper have added a lot of clarity to this.
            It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
            I was never very good at chess. Thanks.

          • Hawkeye

            Note that this is a Senate bill with the House following, which shows that Ryan is floundering already and needs to be led himself.

  • ratfishtim

    Glad to see the Republicans are spending valuable legislative time on a bill they know will be vetoed, rather than, say, passing a budget and preventing a government shutdown.

    They call it governing.

    • Hawkeye

      Like I said above, Ryan could not work with anything else. He is simply too weak, much weaker than Boehner. In the end he will have to thumb his nose at the fascists in his caucus or the GOP. And it won’t get forgotten going into next year’s campaigns. Such a shutdown would almost certainly flip the Senate and may come very close to flipping the House, too. Then watch the fascists scream, while never being willing to admit that they did it to themselves.

  • xgoper

    The reality is if Obamacare was ever actually abolished it would put this country into economic turmoil. Do people think the insurance companies are going to lower their rates? How dumb are people if they ever elect a republican president, this country would fall apart.

    • billinpa

      Actually, my Blue Cross premium for a very similar plan on the exchange will be $9 less in 2016 than it was in 2015. In fact, for the third consecutive year, I have found a way to lower my premium under the ACA. The initial plan that I chose in 2014 was far superior to the one that I had in 2013 pre-ACA.

      When I hear all the right-wing nonsense about high deductibles and double-digit premium increases, I rest assured that I know the truth. However, I wonder how many other people do.

      • Mark_in_VA

        The regressives have done a nice job of creating their preferred reality in the states refusing Medicaid expansion. That has kept the pool considerably smaller, such as in VA where my rates have continued to climb and the level of coverage diminish. All in all, the trajectory for me hasn’t changed with ACA. It was bad before, and it’s bad still. Shopping around and competition would be great, but for my area (NoVA) there are only 4 providers in the game at all, and they all seem to be moving in lockstep. With a bigger pool, there would likely be more incentive for other companies to wade in.

      • Billly

        Yeah, I’m all for ACA, but it hasn’t had a uniform effect. In my state premiums have increased 30% year over year and show no sign of slowing down. I thought my employer provided health care sucked, but my $1,100/month employee portion (with a $5,000 deductible) is positively competitive when I compare it to the ACA premiums of $1,400/month, which would be after-tax costs.

        We need cost controls pronto – ACA is a halfway measure at best.

    • Zornorph

      Well, Obama apparently thought he could lower rates. Or at least ‘bend the cost curve’ – ha!

      • APV

        For decades before ACA, healthcare costs were rising faster than wage increases and inflation. In the 3 years just before ACA was enacted, Average premium increase was about 10%. Healthcare costs were outpacing GDP by 2 to 3 percentage points.

        Numerous studies are now showing that in the last few years there has been a significant slowdown in the growth of health spending. Across nearly every measure — medical price growth, per capita Medicare spending, employer premiums — the amounts the country spends on health care have grown by much smaller margins than before. Overall healthcare spending is now on pace with GDP growth or only slightly more. Not all of this could be attributed to ACA, but ACA has played a significant role. That is what Obama meant by “bending the cost curve”. ACA has also resulted in extending Medicare solvency. All this while the number of uninsured has gone down significantly – it is now at its lowest since recorded history. It would even be much lower if red states did not oppose Medicaid expansion.

        Obama never said it would lower rates in real dollars, except where competition now is driving down rates as billinpa commented. The promise was that it would slow down the rate at which premiums were going up. It was never meant to be the silver bullet to solve all problems in the healthcare industry.

        If Republicans are smart, they would simply take full credit because a market-based system has worked beyond expectations. After all, the foundations of ACA were in the policy proposals that Heritage Foundation came up with as an alternative to Hillarycare, and was implemented as Romneycare in MA.

  • MrBeale

    “The Senate bill would all but erase the health care overhaul by dismantling some of its key pillars, including requirements that most people obtain coverage and larger employers offer it to workers.

    Also eliminated would be its expansion of Medicaid coverage to additional lower-income people and the government’s subsidies for many who buy policies on newly created insurance marketplaces. And it would end taxes the law imposed to cover its costs, including levies on higher-income people, expensive insurance policies, medical devices and indoor tanning salons.

    The bill would also terminate the roughly $450 million yearly in federal dollars that go to Planned Parenthood, about a third of its budget. Federal funds can be used for abortions only in rare cases.”

    Really? This is the platform you want to run on?

    Bring it on, scumbags.

  • mtnycz

    and who said Congress never gets anything done? In a mere 5-6 years, they finally passed a bill that they have voted on 50 times (with the statement that the country hated Obamacare) and now are sending it to Obama’s desk where it will be DOA. Congratulations Congress. Six years of effort well spent.

  • mtnycz

    If it were not for the cruel consequences that would ensue, I would love to see Obama call their bluff and just decide to sign it and hand the bill back to them and wish them luck. They’d be given their dream with no actual plan to implement it. Could you imagine the fake smiles masking sheer terrors?

  • I Am Helpy

    Well done, guys, good thing there are no other problems right now.

  • CA_Guy

    They’re so brave when taking on the poor and powerless. But when it comes to the NRA…

  • Phaedrus

    Hey look, the dog caught its tail.

  • growe

    Hey Mitch, how are those JOBS jobs JOBS and infrastructure bills coming, Woodsy Owl?

  • growe

    Bet they went through a lot of Kleenex doing something this productive, eh?

  • MC Planck

    What a win for Paul Ryan! I guess he is their Great Dumb Hope after all. Anybody check and see if he has a white horse?

  • Michael

    17 republican senate seats are up for re-election in states that elected democratic senators in 2008 or 2012. Thanks for the ammunition, guys.

  • qwerty

    This is probably a dumb question, but why wasn’t this filibustered?

    • noice

      It’s better for the Dems to let it through because the vote tally gives them talking point ammo for the next election, whereas few voters would remember a December-of-last-year filibuster next November.

  • Shamman

    Seems as if Republicans really want to do something for the health of the country, they might spend their time more profitably passing gun control legislation.

  • Silent_Partner

    This was definitely a pressing issue. Meanwhile, some more unsuspecting Americans will be shot today as republicans say shit happens.

  • Robert68

    They passed it via budget reconciliation. Lots and lots of folks say the ACA is here to stay no matter what. I don’t buy that. Its still in great danger of being dismantled. If we get a GOP president next year and congress stays about the same, its bye bye ACA.