The collapse of the Senate’s repeal-and-replace effort does not mean that Congress should give up on health reform. Health costs are spiraling upward because of Obamacare. The American people need relief.

Congress must give it to them, even if it has to do so in piecemeal fashion. Together with some strategic executive actions from the Trump administration, a more gradual plan of attack would achieve far more than “skinny” repeal could have hoped to.

. . .

The conservative House Freedom Caucus on Friday is planning a move to try and force a vote on an ObamaCare repeal bill.

A spokeswoman for the group said members plan to file a “discharge petition,” which would force a vote on a repeal bill if it gets signatures from a majority of the House.

The move is usually used to go around leadership and try to bring up a measure to the floor for a vote.

The plan comes as the Freedom Caucus, and some other Republicans, are pushing to keep the repeal effort alive, despite the Senate’s failed vote last month.

. . .

The GOP’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has generated intense opposition and run into repeated roadblocks on Capitol Hill, despite advancing many worthy reforms. The proposals are right to allow individuals without pre-existing conditions to obtain insurance from a freely-competitive market, right to shift able-bodied individuals from Medicaid to the exchanges, and right to restructure Medicaid so that the largest share of its funds is not captured by the wealthiest states that need it least.

. . .

Congressional Republicans plan to use the next four weeks away from Washington making a public case for a sweeping rewrite of the tax code, an ambitious legislative undertaking they hope will heal divisions that opened when the party’s signature health-care bill collapsed. But at home in their districts, they face pressures that could make it hard to focus on taxes.

. . .

With the failure of Republicans’ health care effort, some Senate moderates are looking to prop Obamacare up with additional taxpayer funds. There’s a case to be made for a short-term bailout of Obamacare—but only if it’s accompanied by serious reforms that liberate consumers from the law’s rising health insurance premiums.

. . .

Our American Experiment — After a speech to state legislative leaders in Austin, TX, on August 1, chairman David Avella and Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, talked about the important role for the states in health reform going forward. You’ll enjoy the eight-minute podcast, that concludes with a little-known story about Turner’s early years as a journalist.

Managed Care magazine writes that, “Whether an ACA fix or GOP plans—or neither—prevail, these players are poised to determine what comes next.”  Those listed include ObamaCareWatch guest contributors Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute, HHS assistant-secretary designate Steve Parente, and Grace-Marie Turner of Galen as well as Andrew Bremberg, White House Domestic Policy Council chief.

. . .

Even if Republicans had succeeded in their recent effort to repeal the ACA, “skinny repeal” would have come nowhere close to solving the problems that plague our health-care system, especially rising costs and declining choices. Of course, the ACA also failed to solve those problems and in many ways exacerbated them. Republicans should not give up on reform that would lower costs, improve quality and ensure more widespread adoption of exciting health-care innovations. On the legislative front, there are several rifle-shot provisions that could be attached to must-pass pieces of legislation. Beyond legislation, the Trump administration can improve the ACA through the regulatory process. The Trump administration can also work with states that are interested in taking advantage of the innovation waivers in Section 1332 of the ACA, which allow states to fashion health reforms that suit their citizens best.

. . .

When it comes to providing affordable health care to the people of Maine, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are worse than out of touch—they are downright dangerous. After Maine expanded Medicaid to childless adults in 2002 under then-Gov. King, the program nearly bankrupted our state. But now Ms. Collins and Mr. King are pushing to do it again by refusing to reform ObamaCare and prevent the future expansion of Medicaid.

. . .

The repeal and replace effort has failed for now. Republicans will move on to tax reform. It remains to be seen what they accomplish in an effort that is arguably at least as complicated as health reform. Ironically, Senator John McCain, the man whose thumbs down deep-sixed the frantic effort to find a way to get something resembling Obamacare repeal passed in the Senate, long ago offered one of the boldest proposals I have seen in my lifetime as it relates to both health reform and tax reform.

Senator McCain proposed to completely eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage (rather than merely capping it–a half measure designed to mitigate rather than eliminate the distortions caused by the exclusion while doing nearly nothing about its unfairness). As detailed in this Heritage report: His plan “would replace the special tax breaks for employer-based health insurance with a univer­sal system of health care tax credits for the pur­chase of health insurance.

. . .