It appears that, while Republicans in Congress are ready to get something done about Obamacare, there are still many holdouts in the House and Senate with respect to the bills put out by both chambers. For the House, the opposition came largely in the form of the Freedom Caucus, which has been a thorn in the side of House Leadership since its formation.
But, for the Senate, the opposition seems to find itself once again led by two of the best fighters the conservative movement has elected – Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.
Sens. Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee made clear during a closed-door GOP meeting Tuesday that they’re not ready to support the party’s health care bill. One aide said the three threatened to vote no — Johnson because of process concerns, Lee and Cruz because of policy concerns — though other aides and lawmakers said the senators were vocally frustrated, but didn’t go as far as making serious threats.
“I don’t think a lot of people are at yes right now,” Sen. John Thune said after the meeting. “I wouldn’t characterize it as there were any, like, ultimatums. But there were concerns being voiced both with respect to substance and process, and that’s kind of a natural part of the conversation. I mean, we’re trying to work through both of those issues to get to, hopefully, a vote next week on a bill that we can all be for.”
Why this matters: Details about the health care bill are finally starting to emerge, forcing senators to say where they stand — and many don’t seem happy with what’s being presented.
For Cruz and Lee, it seems that they are looking to completely get rid of the Obamacare ban on benefit caps, which the Senate bill doesn’t do.
Banning benefit caps means that premiums and deductibles rise on about 95% of Americans who have health insurance. What happens is that Obamacare tells insurers they can’t put a limit on the benefits the insured has, meaning that insurance companies are responsible for paying out a lot more money.
This may seem like it’s not such a bad idea, until you realize that either insurance companies eat the costs and go into the red pretty much permanently OR they raise premiums and deductibles in order to offset the costs – and therefore stay in business.
They pretty much have to do the latter, which in turn keeps more people insured because, hey, that means there will still be insurance companies to provide insurance.
Cruz and Lee, by wanting to remove the ban on insurance caps completely, are fighting to keep insurance costs as low as possible, which is something we have desperately needed since Obamacare was enacted and (predictably) forced rates to skyrocket.
Let’s hope that these two can successfully get these benefit caps removed, and soon. The Senate bill is far from perfect, and this could really help matters.