Stealth Care: So Much for the “Pro-Life” Party

The man lies the way the rest of us eat, sleep and breathe.

Listen to him, if you can stomach it. Then again, it might actually make your stomach sick, and then you’ll have to go to the hospital–and get ripped off, thanks to what this man’s party plans to do to our health care system.

He doesn’t care–not about reality, not about those who aren’t wealthy, not about those he’s trying to fool. It’s just a game to him. A game of ideology, one he’s obsessed with winning at all costs.

How CNN’s Jake Tapper made it through this morning’s interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price without becoming nauseated is a miracle. I wouldn’t have gone three minutes without getting queasy. Price lied so shamelessly, so brazenly, so flamboyantly about the actual consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act that he made Donald Trump look amateurish by comparison.

In his 1993 song “All About Soul,” Billy Joel famously declared, “There are people who have lost/every trace of human kindness.” Those lyrics accurately describe not only Price, but also every Republican who plans to vote in favor of wiping out the Affordable Care Act this week. By voting to destroy the ACA, these Republicans are declaring, in essence, that not having money is a disease they’re not interested in finding a cure for.

This is the “pro-life” party, right? Well, yes, in the sense that Republicans care about life in the womb only. Once that umbilical cord is cut, screw you, unless you’re the son or daughter of a billionaire.

Yes, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) expressed reservations about the GOP substitute for the ACA today. I wish I could believe the argument that even if Trumpcare makes it through the House, it will likely not survive the Senate. However, I simply don’t. At the end of the day, Senate Republicans will stick together, and Trumpcare will replace the ACA. For millions of Americans, that means death will replace life.

This country arguably didn’t appreciate Barack Obama until after he left office, and it looks like this country will not appreciate Obamacare until after it has been repealed:

I’d like to offer some support for those beleaguered politicians, staffers, activists and other “stakeholders” who made the ACA happen in the first place. It was hard work. I don’t think anyone — certainly not those of us on the left — ever thought it was going to make everything perfect. It included, as even its proponents acknowledged, some pretty bitter pills: The continuation of the private insurance system. The personal mandate. This wasn’t the kind of cradle-to-grave health care that one would envision from scratch.

It was, expressly, a kluge that could get through a very big-tent, very fractious Democratic Congress in 2010; made politically palatable (supposedly) by being minimally disruptive to the health insurance people already had. It was based on the Massachusetts plan, which was designed to appeal to a moderate-conservative Republican governor. When it went national, even this accommodation was politically perilous: The bill barely survived passage, and many Democrats did not survive the subsequent elections.

But for all its shortcomings, have we noticed that the Overton window changed drastically? That for all their criticisms, people really don’t want to go back to what was the norm, pre-ACA? And that Republicans were prepared only to smash the whole thing, not to actually improve upon it.

Smash they will, one way or the other. Anyone betting on the ACA surviving probably assumed Hillary Clinton had the Electoral College in the bag last fall. These people are determined, focused, ideologically driven–and no matter how many of them are claiming to have cold feet now, they will inevitably fall in line and vote to repeal the ACA, replacing a powerful and effective medicine with a placebo.

It’s sickening.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.