The GOP's health-care bill is dead, and Mitch McConnell is to blame

The bill is all but dead, just like McConnell's credibility

Mitch McConnell speaks at a press conference
(Image credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell has built himself a reputation for legendary legerdemain as a legislative strategist. The White House and a subset of the Senate Republican caucus have explicitly relied on that for their public predictions that the latest version of the ObamaCare repeal bill would finally pass on a majority vote, whenever McConnell managed to push it. Unfortunately, McConnell may have undone himself with a rare moment of indiscretion, and it might end up costing him dearly.

Last week, the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) came under fire from governors concerned about the reductions in federal subsidies for the Medicaid expansion passed within the Affordable Care Act. The bill does not reduce spending over the 10-year period, but it rolls back hundreds of billions in planned increases by reducing the reimbursement rate to states from a planned floor of 90 percent to the average 57 percent rate that matches the reimbursement for core Medicaid enrollees. The costs for the expansion enrollments have rapidly ballooned far beyond initial projections, and the actuary reports from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services no longer project that the rate of increase will slow down. The reductions are critical to the bill's qualifying for the reconciliation process by showing the BCRA will have a significant impact on the deficit. Along with that reform is a new measure that would cap Medicaid spending growth by linking it to the Urban Consumer Price Index, a move that would restrict federal spending for the entire Medicaid program starting in 2026.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.