Conflicting rumors this afternoon of a very hot meeting between the White House and members of the House Freedom Caucus, a postponed press conference from Speaker Ryan set for 3:30pm now 7:30pm, and an emergency meeting of the House Republican Caucus set for 7:00pm this evening.

So is the bill dead yet or not?

What is most interesting here is that the House Freedom Caucus is going to try to emerge as heroes on this one.  In fact, what has actually happened is much more slippery — the Trump White House extended the final offer to the HFC, and the HFC moved the goalposts again.

As of yet, one really hasn’t seen President Trump clamp down on HFC members back in their own districts.  That dynamic could now change overnight, a dynamic that will either put Trump squarely at odds with his own base (thus forcing Trump to categorically lead), or put HFC members squarely on the outside of their own constituency.

Alternatively, a few “minor” changes could be made as a face-saving measure… but should the bill pass the House with those “minor” changes, it would expose the House Freedom Caucus position for what it is — flaccid at best, petulant at worst, and easily bought in truth.

The true gravel in the gut at this rate is coming from Senators Cruz, Lee, and most notably Senator Rand Paul, who has galvanized the resistance from within the U.S. Senate — even to the point of proposing a free market alternative.

Of course, this is all kabuki anyhow.

The Senate is going to rewrite it.  The real bill will come out of conference.  That platypus will have to pass Congress again and only then will Trump either sign or reject a plan.

…or we are all barreling towards a single-payer social welfare plan (which Trump supports) and this is all an exercise in wondering where we are going and why we are in the handbasket.

But let’s not pretend what is going on in the U.S. House today.  The HFC isn’t trying to kill this bill… they are angling for concessions.  Senator Paul is trying to kill this bill.

The rest is all talk.

If you really want to know why health care is so phenomenally expensive, here is a great tutorial.