September 21, 2017

"So, striking a deal with the Democrats on the budget, President Trump — and the Democrats Pelosi and Schumer — opened up another chance for Republicans to repeal Obamacare."

On the NYT "Daily" podcast today — scroll to 3:15 — Michael Barbaro asks how it happened that Congress is once again returning to the effort to repeal of Obamacare. "It just seemed so over" after the last defeat. Thomas Kaplan (who covers Congress for the NYT) answers:
It looked like September was going to be a nightmare of a month because Congress needed to pass a spending measure to keep the government open, and they also needed to raise the debt limit, and that look like it was going to be this big, messy fight. To everyone's surprise...
The podcast shifts to audio of news reports of Trump's meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and his breaking with the GOP and siding with Democrats to get a deal on these big messy things that were going to be the nightmare of September.

Kaplan continues:
And that was a tough pill to swallow for Republicans, who were completely blindsided, but it sort of cleared the decks for the rest of September. Instead of having this big fiscal fight, that was resolved much earlier than everyone thought it would be.
For podcast listeners who may be only slowly waking up and blearily starting their day with the NYT podcast, Barbaro hammers* the point:
So, striking a deal with the Democrats on the budget, President Trump — and the Democrats Pelosi and Schumer — opened up another chance for Republicans to repeal Obamacare. That's striking.
Kaplan:
Yeah. No. Completely.
Is Trump that crafty? Did Schumer and Pelosi fall into a trap? I'm inclined to answer those questions yes if only because the 2 NYT reporters — who I doubt would give Trump any extra credit — made me think about it that way. And yet, I don't believe the new legislative effort will succeed. But if it does....
_______________

* I use the word "hammers": 1. because of the repetitious pounding of the the same idea, 2. because Barbaro uses the word "striking" twice, and 3. because... STOP THE HAMMERING...

74 comments:

WisRich said...

Was it deliberate by Trump? Yes.

Was it to get another shot at Obamacare? Hmmm, I think it was to focus on tax reform but Trump will gladly take Obamacare as a bonus....if they can pass it.

Sebastian said...

"And yet, I don't believe the new legislative effort will succeed." Now what in the recent history of the GOP could possibly make you think that?

Laslo Spatula said...

A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol.

But it certainly is unlike a vagina.

I am Laslo.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't see much point giving people additional chances at things they won't take.

Birkel said...

This post represents the ultimate in so called Chuck bait.

Er, I mean so called click bait.I

Trump cannot have intended a result conservatives would like.

Matthew Sablan said...

"A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol."

-- That's not what Captain Hammer says.

Luke Lea said...

Stop the hammering - was O'Donnell's earpiece hacked? When do we find out?

TerriW said...

Laslo:

"A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol."

Captain Hammer begs to disagree.

Laslo Spatula said...

The Republicans, feeling spurned, want to prove their relevance.

Lucy surely won't pull the football away this time.

I am Laslo.

MaxedOutMama said...

As I commented on the previous post, "It works" is probably Trump's operational guideline. That is, if it works to aid his purpose he will do it, and if it is not likely to work for his purpose he will not. Trump did and does want the problem of Obamacare handled, because far too many people are being hurt by it. But he does not want those people left in the lurch.

Trump appears to be a buffoon of a politician only in our modern era, during which it has become the unstated dogma that politicians must first be approved by the elites before going to the people. Trump has turned that around - his first priority is to address what the people want, and he reasons that the media can catch up later. He is more than willing to smack a few politicians around to break a logjam in order to get something done.

I believe that Trump very deliberately created the appearance that he is willing to work with the Democrats in order to put pressure on the GOP leadership in Congress. He is forcing them to take a bit of a risk by putting them in electoral jeopardy if they will not. I can only cheer him on in this endeavor.

Unknown said...

A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol

Peter Gabriel begs to differ..

exhelodrvr1 said...

The hammer and sickle - it clearly has got to be Russia!! Can we give Putin the Medal of Freedom for doing that to O'Donnell?

MaxedOutMama said...

Btw, I don't think Trump is that great of a politician - it is just that our political and media structure has become so ossified and Weimar-Republic-like that all that remains is low-hanging fruit. They are ripe for a fall.

Brat in Virginia should not have been able to take down Eric Cantor and then proceed to win the seat, but he did. Easily. Without money. Perhaps it is that Trump's life and career have not been centered on DC. He can see the obvious, whereas all the "people who matter" have shrouded themselves in a mist of political nonsense for so long that they can not.

Scott Walker isn't that good of a politician either, but he has done very well in WI because he is trying to solve problems rather than spin all the time. The politics of pure rhetoric have become toxic to the average citizen.

The new GOP proposal is pretty good, actually. A lot better than Obamacare. If passed, it would cut insurance premiums for very many people. And the reality is that Obamacare is failing in a very obvious manner. Something must be done.

Dude1394 said...

what I continue to be amazed at is the total and complete ineptitude of congress. They literally CAN NOT chew gum and walk at the same time. I can only think that they are so busy running around trying to find a camera to talk to about the latest topic of the day that they do not do anything else.

It's infuriating.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

BTW, I don't know that DJT is that crafty.

But, as soon as this deal occurred it did seem sensible from the POV of the Rs. The Rs always lose when they use the government shutdown battles as a hostage taking opportunity, so obviously they'd really lose such now that they're in total control of the gov.

Regardless of the shutdown stuff, I think that it was inevitable that that Rs would keep trying to do healthcare until the reconciliation deadline passed (and after that, too). 1) They want the healthcare money redirected so they make room for tax cuts (not that they feel too constrained by the need to offset revenue losses that result from tax cuts). 2) They only need to flip one vote*, that's irresistibly close. IMHO.


*BTW Althouse and plenty of cons have characterized the Ds healthcare plan (w/ all its hearings and evaluation and 60 Senate votes) as throat ramming.

Y'all are funny.

Dude1394 said...

the new senate proposal if passed will be passed to great fanfare, thrown over the wall to the house and then everyone will go home. Pathetic.

I'm starting to think the president should be able to call congress back into session and have them work on whatever he wants them to work on. They are THAT pathetic.

rehajm said...

what I continue to be amazed at is the total and complete ineptitude of congress.

It certainly looks that way. There is however the alternative theory that Congress needs to crank up the drama in order to fill the election year coffers with campaign dollars. A smooth sail through major legislation is in conflict with that need. Without laying odds I'll reserve judgement until January 1, 2018.

Mike said...

Steve Hayward over at the PowerLine blog draws the same conclusion that the first deal with Chuck and Nancy (by virtue of arcane budget rules) did open the way for the Graham-Cassidy repeal & replace effort underway. Scott Adam's prediction that Trump reporting would morph from "Hitler" to grudging acceptance "he got some things done we don't like" is well underway. Hayward also cites the DACA deal as an example of Donald splitting the Left. Sending "the children" to a "home" they never knew (in the popular telling) was never a position that set well with most Americans. But now the crazy "11 million or bust" amnesty crowd is concentrating their ire on Nancy Pelosi and their other "allies" because if Trump takes care of the Dreamers there will be no constituency to pursue a "path for citizenship" to the other lawbreakers. Chuck and Nancy are damned either way.

But yeah, that Obama sure was smart to set this all in motion with those executive orders wasn't he!

Ray said...

Trump made the right decision. Time will tell if it's a pattern or not in dealing with congress. I hope it's the start of effective legislation. It would be a nice change.

And Trump will be down in Alabama helping.

All very strange.

traditionalguy said...

Time to stop and remember Charles Martel at Tours. He was the Frank that the Muslims called "The Hammer." And 1,000 years later, the Muslim invasion is just walking into Paris on Merkle's invite.

Nonapod said...

I personally don't much care about anything that would actually be passable at this point. That is to say, I don't believe anything that could be passed would actually solve any of the real problems with the current system. Anything passable in the current environment would ultimately be just a bunch of minor reconfigurations of the ACA. It'd be called a "repeal" but in reality it would just be a renaming with a few tweaks.

So it's all about a political victory that would have little meaning in the real world (other than perhaps electorally for 2018). I'm far more interested in tax cuts at this point, since the whole healthcare thing seems like an unfixable disaster anyway. But Trump and congress have to go through the motions and pretend like it's not.

traditionalguy said...

THe wonder is the speed with which DJT used Chucky and Nancy to outflank the GOP Senate Rino's trap. They woke up with no option but to surrender. May 1940 redux.

Robert said...

Did Schumer and Pelosi fall into a trap?

Falling into a trap would be the Republicans actually repealing Obamacare, since they would then be seen as responsible for what is now an exclusively Democratic train wreck.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

"Anything passable in the current environment would ultimately be just a bunch of minor reconfigurations of the ACA. It'd be called a "repeal" but in reality it would just be a renaming with a few tweaks."

This bill takes away all the ACA money by 2026. So perk up, this is a total win!

M Jordan said...

Lawrence O'Donnell unmasked! Big surprise what we found. Liberalism is always kinder to the little guy in theory than in practice.

mockturtle said...

The Republicans, feeling spurned, want to prove their relevance.

Lucy surely won't pull the football away this time.


Well put, Laslo. ;-D

M Jordan said...

Landlord: "A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol. But it certainly is unlike a vagina."

The claw end, which receives nails, is the vaginal. The head end, which pounds nails, is the phallus. A hammer is transgender.

William said...

They don't call it the "art" of the deal for nothing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol."

I beg to differ on that. A toned, tan, shirtless man wearing a tool belt, with a hammer as being one of the ....ahem....tools is damned sexy. Hammer it home big guy!

Note: I would link to a photo to illustrate, however, not sure if I would be sending Althouse's readers to porn sites or not.

M Jordan said...

Uh, "Landlord" is "Laslo."

Michael K said...

Scott Walker isn't that good of a politician either, but he has done very well in WI because he is trying to solve problems rather than spin all the time. The politics of pure rhetoric have become toxic to the average citizen.

Good observation.

Anything passable in the current environment would ultimately be just a bunch of minor reconfigurations of the ACA. It'd be called a "repeal" but in reality it would just be a renaming with a few tweaks.

I disagree. I have suggested for over a year that Obamacare just be made "optional." Let the Medicaid recipients who are the only ones who like it keep Medicaid but block granting it to the states would allow governors and state legislatures to decide what they want to do and to take the consequences.

The rest would be back where they were in 2008. Employer paid plans were never attacked because the Left knew it would be suicidal.

The individual market was the most hurt. Young healthy adults, like one of my kids, could buy cheap catastrophic care plans.

The "Pre-existing Conditions" crowd, which is a small percentage of the total adults, should be protected by some sort of risk pool. It never made sense to try that cross subsidy unless the penalties were harsh but that was never going to happen.

One thing Obamacare did, and which was helped by the "Electronic Health Record," was a move to cash practice by a lot of doctors who did not have student loans to pay and who were sick of bureaucracies.

Birkel said...

PB&J thinks borrowing another $20 trillion is a possibility?

That's a theory that's going to be tested.

Nonapod said...

I have suggested for over a year that Obamacare just be made "optional." Let the Medicaid recipients who are the only ones who like it keep Medicaid but block granting it to the states would allow governors and state legislatures to decide what they want to do and to take the consequences.

But do you believe such a thing could be passed right now?

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

"A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol."

Ball peenis.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Somebody brought up arcane budget rules ... How and why would Trump know about them?

Yancey Ward said...

The deal with the Democrats was a warning shot to the Republican leadership. The leadership got the the message. Now, will they actually accomplish anything? Don't know.

And I forgot who wrote it above, but this blog post is definitely the biggest Chuck bait possible.

Big Mike said...

Something people are overlooking -- the Democrat base is pushing back hard on Pelosi and Schumer, especially the former. (How dare they negotiate with the Great Satan!) The two of them may not be able to hold up their part of the bargain or they may have to spend political capital to do so, either of which will work to Trump's advantage as well.

But Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are the next big test for Trump's administration. Three major hurricanes in one season? That would be tough, but the level of desolation in what are offshore territories will surely be a challenge. I infer that this administration has done very well with Irma and Harvey, because otherwise the press would be yapping like a roomful of Jack Russell terriers smelling a cat just outside. But Puerto Rico will be tough.

George Grady said...

"It just seemed so over" after the last defeat.

C'mon now. This game's not over until we win.

Bay Area Guy said...

I remember 20-25 years ago when O'Donnell was on the DC staff of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. At the time, O'Donnell seemed bright, insightful and reasonably intelligent.

What happened? Heh

holdfast said...

I love that multiple posters here immediately reference Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Mike said...

Somebody brought up arcane budget rules ... How and why would Trump know about them?

Staff.

rehajm said...

I infer that this administration has done very well with Irma and Harvey, because otherwise the press would be yapping like a roomful of Jack Russell terriers smelling a cat just outside

This lack of leftie yapping about ACA/taxes also leads be to believe Congress could be on the verge of accomplishing something.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Laslo Spatula said...
A Hammer is not quite a phallic symbol."

Nails are though.

Which is why guys brag "I nailed her last night."

So why would Simon and Garfunkel rather be a hammer than a nail?

David said...

Isn't this obvious? So obvious that it could not have escaped even Schumer and Pelosi?

Very little else was going to get done while squabbling about government shutdown and not paying bills was out in front. It did not take brilliance to see that. Trump decided to clear the decks for higher priority items. A good move but hardly a super brilliant trick.

Given my supposition that Schumer and Pelosi understood the ploy, my question is why they went along with it. Perhaps it was a higher trick than I give credit for and they felt trapped on that White House couch.

Nonapod said...

This lack of leftie yapping about ACA/taxes also leads be to believe Congress could be on the verge of accomplishing something.

Another possibility is that Trump may have finally exhausted the MSM and their establishment comrades. They've been on full on panic mode since last November, and the constant effort of coming up with narratives to criticize, discredit, and undermine his administration has finally caught up with them. They've been sprinting this whole time. Plus there's been this constant stream of huge news stories, multiple hurricanes, an earthquake, Kim's rockets, Obama wiretapping Trump, hacks, terrorism, and now Congress may actually succeed in doing a thing.

Perhaps they just need some juice and a nap?

Saint Croix said...

I don't believe the new legislative effort will succeed.

The promise is to repeal and replace, right?

I imagine it's "replace" that's the tough nut to crack.

Why not divide it into two different fights?

First fight: a straight up repeal.

All the Republicans should get on board with this. Where is the Republican who likes Obamacare? I think all of them are on record in opposition. So a straight up repeal should be (relatively) easy to pass, if you twist enough arms. Pass a repeal on a party-line vote.

And then the second, harder vote, to "replace." That's the nightmare vote that may or may not ever happen. And Trump would have to sign that into law. The replacement bill would have to be bipartisan (since lots of Republicans will not be on board with any form of socialized medicine) and Trump would have to sign it.

Anyway, divide the fight into two fights. First repeal. Then fight about what will replace it. First one step, then the other. Trying to do both at once is a disaster.

Kevin said...

I can see staff explaining that tax reform probably won't get done this year because of the budget infighting waiting to happen.

I can see Trump thinking about how to clear the logjam and not caring about the budget infighting at all.

And I can see the Republicans in Congress, with the way clear to accelerate tax reform, instead going back to Obamacare to try to regain political relevancy.

I can see all of that.

Michael K said...

"But do you believe such a thing could be passed right now?"

I think that is pretty much what this bill does. I haven't read it but that's what it sounds like.

JAORE said...

*BTW Althouse and plenty of cons have characterized the Ds healthcare plan (w/ all its hearings and evaluation and 60 Senate votes) as throat ramming.

Selective memory dumping. Key example, "Deemed to have passed...". I must have missed all the hearings and evaluations on the bill the House never actually voted on....

buwaya said...

Tax reform is a matter of consensus actually.
It is supported by the main Democrat funders even more than it is by Republican funders. Chase and Apple and Google and such.

Etienne said...

The funny thing about the original video, is he talks about how bad Trump is, and then after each cut he goes fucking berserk about simple shit.

Being a news reader is like working in a sewer anyway, what does he expect? Does he think he's a star or something?

I love the white shirt. I haven't seen one of those for 20 years. I had one for funerals, or visits to IBM HQ.

Darrell said...

Althouse protects Lefty journalist by putting up a heavily edited version of the O'Donnell meltdown. Watch the whole eight minutes here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quUyoQARD14

grimson said...

The revival of the GOP's interest in addressing ACA is due to Trump's signaling on DACA, not his deal with Schumer and Pelosi (although that did free up the legislative calendar). The GOP will be only too happy to cave on amnesty, but fear the next election should they pass amnesty but do nothing on health care.

Michael said...

"I love the white shirt. I haven't seen one of those for 20 years. "
And under what rock have you lived these decades?

Bay Area Guy said...

Cut taxes
Repeal Obamacare
Pass the Raise Act re immigration.

That would be dandy.

Michael K said...

The WSJ has an artlicel of the new bill and the Democrats' frantic efforts to kill it.

The comments at the WSJ are a frenzy of lefty talking points. They really go after any proposal that they think will do Republicans good in the next election.

Alex said...

Trump is playing 4D chess contrary to the protestations of little Bennie Shapiro.

Roy Lofquist said...

The greatest con is one where the the mark comes away thinking they have gotten the best of you. Chuck and Nancy for the win!

Roy Lofquist said...

Blogger Alex said...
Trump is playing 4D chess contrary to the protestations of little Bennie Shapiro.
9/21/17, 2:10 PM

Wrong game. The game afoot is table stakes no limit poker.

The Godfather said...

I wonder if Trump got the idea of clearing the decks through a temporary budget deal from McConnell and Ryan. It may not have actually been their proposal, but perhaps they said, Oh Mr. President we really can't do anything about anything in September because we'll be fully engaged with this budget thing. And Trump said, Why don't you just do a deal with the Democrats on the budget thing? And Mitch and Paul said, Oh that would never work! And Trump said (to himself), I've heard THAT before.

We won't know until Trump publishes his memoirs ("What Really Happened") in 2026.

The Vault Dweller said...

While I won't scratch it up to 4d chess or whatever some people like to ascribe to actions by Trump, I can definitely see this outcome as a deliberate result of Trump's actions. Part of being a good executive is about figuring out what is the most important aspect of a project to be working on at the moment at making sure that is working. I could see Trump over a month ago, asking his aides why can't we get a Healthcare fix through. And his aides responding well we basically ran out of time, we will still have budgetary issues and debt ceiling to deal with and this typically takes a long time, frankly all of September will be needed. Then Trump think well if this budget and debt ceiling is the issue preventing working on Healthcare which is what we need to work on, I will fix that. Then he cooks up his deal with Pelosi and Schumer.

Marty Keller said...

Scott Walker isn't that good of a politician either.

I'll grant you he may not be particularly charismatic but I'd say, given what he's accomplished both electorally and legislatively in Wisconsin, he's a helluva politician. Just a sample: when he first ran for governor in 2010, the Ds controlled the state senate 18-15 and the house 52-46; now it's completely reversed. The Rs control the senate 20-13 and the house 64-35. Then there's that little-known fact of winning three elections in four years.

Imagine what it'd be if he were "that good of a politician."

Michael K said...

Then there's that little-known fact of winning three elections in four years.

Imagine what it'd be if he were "that good of a politician."


I agree and I was a supporter in 2016. I wonder why he quit so fast ?

Maybe he saw the money wasn't there. Plus, he's got time.

Unknown said...

And yet if it does ... well many people will sicken, die, and be ruined who would not have before. ...

Anonymous said...

@unknown Unless medicaid gets straightened out those people are going to "sicken and die" because they can't find a doctor who will take care of them. Doctors, like the rest of us, refuse to work for free, which is about what Medicaid is asking. Many states are going to go "broke" trying to support their medicaid expansion. Without change we will be right back to people going to the emergency room for treatment of the common cold whether there is an ACA or not.

MN health insurance is about to implode because the Governor has made promises and commitments that he can not fulfill without someone (presumably the Feds i.e. you and me) sending MN over $500 million bucks. Last year it was only $350 million!

Michael K said...

Without change we will be right back to people going to the emergency room for treatment of the common cold whether there is an ACA or not.

It's not a matter of "going back," it's here now.

Obamacare destroyed the healthcare system that did a good job with 85% of the population.

The traditional doctor practices that those of us who worked in the 70s and 80s used are gone.

Doctors are now employees of huge corporations. The exceptions are usually older doctors who have quit all insurance and gone to cash practices.

You read about them all the time now. The newspapers call them "Concierge medicine" because they want to make it sound as though they are only for the rich.

The only supporters of Obamacare are the Medicaid people whose care is subsidized by the rest of us.

buwaya said...

The other effect of Obamacare was to escalate costs of employer medical coverage.
That has had a direct effect on cost of employment, and is a not often discussed factor in the suppression of the employment recovery since 2010.

Anonymous said...

@Michael K ... and the health insurance companies who still are convinced that there is a pot of gold at the end of the Obamacare rainbow even though their income statements are telling them something different.

What you say about the medical profession certainly seems true here in rural SE MN. If you are a doctor you work either for the Mayo Clinic or Gunderson Lutheran. That's it.

Anonymous said...

@buwaya The WSJ had an article yesterday about employer plans. This was the meat:

"Still, the rise of premiums over time has resulted in family health plans that can annually cost more than a new car, with the cost split between firms and employees. Employees paid on average $5,714, or 31%, of the premiums, for a family plan in 2017, according to Kaiser.

For an individual worker, the average annual cost of employer coverage was $6,690 in the 2017 survey, or 4% higher than last year, with employees paying 18% of the total.

Another trend was also sustained in the 2017 survey: a decline in the share of employers offering health insurance despite a labor market that shows signs of tightening—at least in certain regions and sectors. The move has been driven by a drop-off among the smallest firms.

This year, 53% of employers in the survey offered health benefits, down from 56% last year and 61% in 2012. Just half of firms with 3 to 49 workers offered health insurance this year, the first time the share reached that threshold. Five years ago, 59% of companies in that category offered health benefits."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cost-of-employer-provided-health-insurance-rises-toward-19-000-a-year-1505838600

Michael K said...

The only solution I see long term is to go to a modified market system like France has,.

I did a series on it almost ten years ago.

It combines a market mechanism and some subsidy.

The system is all encompassing. For example, medical school in France is free and a college degree is not necessary.

Still to get costs down, what would you prefer ? Doctors from India with limited English skills ?

My wife's new internist in Tucson is a graduate of St George's Medical School in Grenada.

I was a little surprised to find doctors who would take Medicare. not Medicaid, Medicare.

I expected to pay cash.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ritmo or another such says that you, or Doc X, would make a lot less money in France than you could here.

Rusty said...

ad Lieutenant said...
"Ritmo or another such says that you, or Doc X, would make a lot less money in France than you could here. "
Ritmo's butt talks big.
Anyway.
The insurance companies are the middle men.
Lets do a thought experiment. Lets eliminate the insurance companies from the equation and just put the drs and patients together and work out that real cost. Then the drs and the hospital and the patient and the hospital. find out where the real costs lay..........lie.......are.

Michael K said...

I might make less money in France but the idea of all doctors being rich is pretty dumb.

I went through medical school on scholarship but the tuition then was about $1400 a year. Now it is $57,000 a year.

When I went to college, tuition was $16 a unit. A full load was 16 units so the annual tuition was $512 per year.

My point is that student debt is a recent phenomenon. The French doctors have no debt. Plus, the basic doctor starts at a lower income but there are others who go through additional training, like I did, and can charge as much as patients are willing to pay.

I could see some sort of bargain in a health care reform here. A similar bargain is available here by joining the military, The Army will pay most of your tuition in return for serving as an Army doctor. You can get additional training in a specialty. By the time a surgeon is board certified he/she is probably a LT Colonel.

Obamacare was written by a team of insurance lobbyists and 25 year old Democrat staff lawyers.

Insurance companies have traditionally hated health insurance. They like being an "Administrative Service Organization, as they are for self funding employers. All they do is process claims and bill for the service.

They thought they would be doing the same business but with government paying the claims.

Dude1394 said...

The thinking that the GOP will actually get anything done in the what...8 days left this month is very wishful thinking. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more inept bunch.