This is certainly going to come as a surprise to the Republican party. Billy Long (R-Mo.) has announced that he will be voting against the GOP’s most recent healthcare bill. The effort to repeal and replace Obamacare has been fraught with difficulty even though it seems that after years of preparation time, the GOP lawmakers should have been ready with a robust and unifying plan. There’s no doubt that the party considered Long to be a safe vote.
Billy Long gave the following reason for opposing the bill centering on how it strips away the protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
“I have always stated that one of the few good things about ObamaCare is that people with pre-existing conditions would be covered. The MacArthur amendment strips away any guarantee that pre-existing conditions would be covered and affordable.”
The reason that the last version of the repeal and replace bill failed was because it was too extreme for moderate Republicans and not extreme enough for those of the far right of the party. This new draft law was proposed as an amendment by Rep.Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). He attempted to appeal to the Freedom Caucus by adding that states could opt out of the protections regarding pre-existing conditions. States could apply for a waiver which would allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for those who are sick. Those in support of MacArthur’s amendment argue that insurers would have to create a high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions. But there is no guarantee that these pools would keep premiums affordable. Those in support also point out that the bill no longer has a penalty for people who allow their insurance to lapse.
Billy Long’s surprise announcement is illustrative of just how divided Republicans are within their party. For the last seven years, the Tea Party has been a major force in GOP politics. They were the driving force in taking control of Congress and were extremely helpful in getting Trump elected. But they are still relatively a small number within the party. Therefore, to win legislative votes, there has to be appeals made to moderate voters. But the Tea Party is not known for compromise. So even though they can win votes on their own, they have the power to derail the vote.
It looks like that is exactly what Billy Long is trying to do. What do you think about his defiant stand against his own party?
Credit: Bipartisan Report