Michigan Representative, Fred Upton, is said to be an interesting guy both politically and personally. Upton is the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. On top of that, he is also a senior member of the House of GOP. But these days, that's not the most interesting thing about Upton.
Last Tuesday, Upton dealt a severe blow to the new American Health Care Act, also known as the "Trumpcare." According to him, the new Trumpcare was moving forward because of the appeal to right wing conservatives at the expense of the moderates.
After Upton's episode, he got onto the floor again on Wednesday. You would think that the pro-Trumpcare would look twice. And yet, that's not the case.
In fact, Rep. Greg Walden, a heavy supporter of Trumpcare, gave him a big smile and a handshake when Upton took the floor.
Maybe it's because the two are long-time colleagues and it's just a show of mutual respect. Or perhaps, Walden knew the impending actions of Upton. And the rest of capitol hill soon found out.
Upton reverted from being an anti-Trumpcare to a pro-Trumpcare overnight. And here’s the interesting part - the tweaks to the new version of Trumpcare didn't really address Upton's objections.
Last Tuesday, Upton stated that he cannot support the bill with its current provision. His major concern was that the new bill would weaken the insurance protection of the insurance owners with pre-existing conditions, also known as high-risk pools. When Upton was asked if funding for such situations would change his mind, he replied that simply adding more money does not solve the problem.
But, apparently, it did. When Upton came out on Wednesday, he was already supporting a Trumpcare that is very much contained in the last version. The only difference was the bill would offer $8 billion in the course of five years for high-risk pools. The new change also made a "yes man" out of Billy Long, the Missouri representative.
With Upton and Long in the “yes” pool, it's very likely that Trumpcare will pass.
It's unclear how many representatives turned to the yes column after Long and Upton's defection. However, the scenario spawned a sense of optimism in Capitol Hill, an emotion that hasn't shown its face for more than a week.
Rumors are floating that the vote may be on Thursday or perhaps Friday. In fact, if everything is aligned, it's possible that the vote may come during Wednesday night. Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, did instruct everyone to keep their schedules open for Thursday.
Big supporters of Trumpcare may have succeeded in convincing the moderates that Upton's amendments were a big win for them, thereby creating a sense of a moving train that's headed for a ‘Yes' vote. In reality, it was more of a big win for the supporters of Trumpcare rather a big win for the moderates. While Trumpcare was stuck on the rails last Tuesday, with the defection of Upton and the spinning trick of the leaders of pro-Trumpcare, it seems the bill is gaining momentum towards a ‘Yes’ vote.