When the Republican plan to repeal/replace Obamacare, AHCA, was working its way through the House, some people started calling it ZombieCare. That’s because the bill died the first time, only to come back to life and survive. Now, Paul Krugman compares the Senate version to a vampire.
Clearly, the goal is to pass legislation that will have devastating effects on tens of millions of Americans without giving those expected to pass it, let alone the general public, any real chance to understand what they’re voting for…
Why this combination of secrecy and speed? Obviously, this legislation can’t survive sunlight — and I’m by no means the first to make the analogy with vampires…
Vox.com asked eight Republican senators what problem the legislation is supposed to solve, and how it’s supposed to solve it. Not one offered a coherent answer.
Of course, none brought up the one obvious payoff to taking health care away from millions: a big tax cut for the wealthy. As I said, while bloodsucking isn’t the main reason to call this a vampire policy, it’s part of the picture.
Sen. Orin Hatch basically agrees that the bill couldn’t withstand an infusion of sunlight.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said holding public hearings about the legislation would only give Democrats more opportunity to attack the bill.
“We have zero cooperation from the Democrats,” he said. “So getting it in public gives them a chance to get up and scream.”
With all the secrecy, we don’t know exactly what’s in the bill. That is why things like this are so alarming:
NEW INFO ON SENATE BILL: Word is bill submitted 2 CBO is actually MORE severe than the House bill.
Same House bill Trump described as mean.
— Andy Slavitt ??? (@ASlavitt) June 19, 2017
And yet, apparently Majority Leader McConnell is still pushing to get this thing passed in the next two weeks.
What we are facing is a Senate bill that affects one sixth of our economy, whose House companion bill has the support of about 20 percent of the American public, but has been kept a secret to minimize any challenges. Yes, outrage is certainly called for. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work.
Would Sen. Mitch McConnell really try to pull off something that unprecedented and inconceivable? We’re talking about the man who rallied Republicans to oppose anything the Democrats tried to do during the worst recession since the Great Depression. The same man who denied a sitting president the chance to even hold hearings—much less a vote—on his Supreme Court nominee.
Not only did McConnell do those things, he won a Senate majority for his party and secured the nomination of a Supreme Court judge for a newly elected Republican president. So he got exactly what he wanted and never had to pay a price for taking the risk to go low with his political strategy.
I’d suggest that the current Republican Majority Leader will keep on doing unprecedented things unless/until he pays a price for doing so. A profile of McConnell back in 2013 described him this way:
While most politicians desperately want to be liked, McConnell has relished—and cultivated—his reputation as a villain.
He doesn’t mind the heat of being a villain as long as it gets him what he wants. He’ll take your outrage and eat it for lunch. So yes, McConnell would be willing to craft a bill that strips something like 20 million people of their health care in order to give a tax cut to the wealthy under the cover of secrecy up until the final moment of the vote. That’s how he plays…and will continue to do so until enough voters stand up to stop him.