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09/11/2001 WE REMEMBER
Moderated by: Arch, Famov

"Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams

"Despite the constant negative press covfefe" - Donald Trump

So, what are the Republicans doing with Senate Trumpcare bill?
Posted: Posted June 13th by Jet Presto

I'm genuinely confused by what Senate Republicans have been up to regarding the AHCA, for various reasons.

First and foremost, the House bill was hugely controversial to begin with, barely passed, and was pretty unpopular in the first place. The bill itself goes back on the President's campaign promises about how he would fix healthcare. Granted, it doesn't go back on the promise to repeal Obamacare, but it leaves the "and replace" part of that promise extremely lacking. If the biggest issues with the ACA were that premiums were too high, you might not be able to keep your doctor if you like, and insurers might pull out of certain markets, the AHCA appears to solve virtually none of those problems. In fact, it appears that insurers are already more likely to pull out, premiums appear ready to rise if passed, and people will not have any protection for having a pre-existing condition (something that, turns out, is actually a protection that is easily the single piece of Obamacare that people actively want, and the President on the campaign trail frequently promised would not change).

House Republicans already had to do some fancy legislative flying to pass this unpopular bill in the first place, and broke from their own rhetoric by passing it without debate and without getting a CBO score, legislative actions that they would absolutely (and rightfully so) piss them off if the Democrats did them. To ease the concerns of their constituents, Senate Republicans initially promised that the bill they would pass in the Senate would look very different than the one passed in the House. That they would theoretically address some of the concerns with the House AHCA bill.

Flash forward to today, where it is sounding increasingly likely that there actually won't be any major changes from the House version of the bill. But more importantly, they are trying to ram this through in secret. They have apparently shown their version of the bill to insurance companies, but, strangely, not to the general public. How on Earth can they claim to value basic American principles if they can't even be bothered to release a huge bill like this, which will affect millions of Americans, for the citizens to see for themselves? The secretive nature of this, mixed with their attempt to prevent any real public discourse over the contents of the bill, strike me as a very "un-founder-like" approach to governance. (I mean, many Americans way back when hated the Constitution because it was written in secret. And that was the Constitution! America's Bible!)

Even FOX News has been reporting that the basic bill from the House is highly disliked by the public. Many polls put the number of "disapprove" between 60 and 65% (that was what I last saw from FOX News itself, and if they were trying to sell the bill to their conservative base, it feels like they would have probably tried to find a poll with a more favorable number.)

So basically, we've got false promises to change the controversial, unpopular House bill, a bill that they are actively trying to keep hidden from public view, trying to get it passed without discourse or debate before the session break, of a bill that a pretty clear majority of Americans don't actually want, that does virtually nothing to fix any of the problems with the current ACA (which, polls indicate is currently even more popular than the President).

Even more, there are stories coming out that the President himself has tried to talk to Senate Republicans about the bill, with him allegedly calling the AHCA too "mean." I'd be shocked if he vetoed the bill, but it is starting to sound like even the President himself isn't a fan of Trumpcare.

So strategically, I just don't really get it, I guess. What are they hoping to accomplish with this? Is it just that the Republicans are so confident in their district lines or their stranglehold on more states for the Senate, or in the inability of the Democratic party to provide a cohesive, unified opposition front that they see no negative consequences to this? Passage of a highly unpopular bill that will negatively affect millions of Americans doesn't exactly sound like sound political strategy.

But then, more concerning to me is, in terms of procedure, I don't get it either. Why the secrecy? Why will they not just release the bill for the public to see? Why do they not want to engage in debate, or hear from their constituents? As controversial as the initial ACA was back when it passed, it had almost none of these elements to it. Popularity was a lot more even, it almost a full year to actually pass after months of debate and discussions, they got the CBO score, the bill was publicly released, and the Democrats made many concessions to help ease Republican concerns about the initial bill. I don't really want to get into the philosophy of government responsibility to provide health care to its citizenry, but from a procedural perspective, passing the ACA appears to have been substantially more kosher and democratic (and even republican) than the likely passage of the AHCA.

I know the natural reaction here will be to point out all the bullshit the Democrats have pulled over the years legislatively (like themselves lowering the number of votes required to win a vote, which I think is still wrong and also biting them in the ass), but I genuinely want to know if the Republicans in office pulling this stuff will face any criticism for this kind of thing. Do others in their line of thinking generally have any concerns over this legislative behavior? Will anyone criticize them for trying to pass secret legislation? Anyone concerned in the slightest about this as a standard for our legislative branch? Is there no matter of democratic principle or republican virtue worth considering in the process? Or is it "anything goes" to repeal the ACA?

Even more, can any conservative explain the logic of passing a secret bill that is pretty disliked by the majority that doesn't actually fix any problems with the ACA? Like, politically, what is the upside here? If they take away people's health care, premiums go up, no problems are solved, will they really win much political capital by taking credit for that? Especially if it is done in secret, behind-closed-doors sessions and meetings?

I get that I'm just a fucking libtard, so fuck me, but am I *really* so crazy for having problems with the way that they're going about this? Can I at least hear from some conservative that they can somewhat understand my problems here?

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There are 12 Replies

Quit with the partisan stuff. Many (most?) conservatives do not like this bill either.

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I would hazard a guess that it stems from the following:

1) Trump does not believe in the sort of healthcare that other Republicans believe in. He is further to the left on healthcare than they are. He also doesn't have a clue how to fix it, and is letting others do it for him without any scrutiny whatsoever. Furthermore, he wants to rush it out to appear to be honouring his campaign promises.

2) Republicans are scared of publicly appearing to be undermining Trump, so they are willing to let a bad bill go, while simultaneously keeping it as quiet as possible.

All of this is, undoubtedly, a scandal and a betrayal of the American people. No disagreement here.

Edited June 13th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple

If Obama didn't literally name his healthcare thing after himself Trump probably would have just left it alone. Why do politicians in the US feel the need to name their policies ridiculous things like Obamacare and Trumpcare? It has a real bad tasting cult of personality that reminds me of Chairman Mao.


Edited June 13th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

I don't think Obama was the one who named it Obamacare.

Or was that the joke?

Posted June 13th by Smiling Apple
Smiling Apple

Like in Canada, it's just called Healthcare. Why needlessly overcomplicate it? No one gives a shit who came up with it, they just wanna know a doctor will stop the bleeding if someone shoots them in the mall.

Posted June 13th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

It would have been great if it was called Bushcare though. The pube jokes would have been even more ridiculous.

Posted June 13th by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

Obama called it The Affordable Care Act. Republicans called it Obamacare to turn people against it.

Posted June 13th by Ghowilo
Ghowilo

Quit with the partisan stuff. Many (most?) conservatives do not like this bill either.


To be clear, I'm not even talking about the bill so much itself as much as I am about the procedural stuff and the Republican party strategy here. This bill is largely unpopular, even to conservatives. This part is true. My concern is how little concern anyone seems to have about the general legislative tactics being used here. Conservatives enjoy having health insurance protections for pre-existing conditions more than they enjoy not having access to health insurance too, but the Republican party has largely been unified in doing everything they can to get this bill passed. And my point is that the Congressional Republicans are engaged in shady legislative practices to do it, which should be more concerning to literally everyone that it seems to be.

I also have to laugh a little bit at the first response to the criticism that the Republican party is behaving dangerously partisan and undermining our democratic processes and institutions is that I'M being too partisan. But I specifically call attention to this for Republicans and conservatives because I have not heard any criticism of the party whatsoever for what they're doing to push this bill through. I've heard criticisms of the bill itself, but none whatsoever towards the party itself. If it's partisan to call out irresponsible partisan party behavior, then fine, but the Republicans should be getting a lot more flack for their sneaky antics. That's why I call it to conservatives' attention more than Democrats (because they're probably already criticizing Republicans for every little thing anyway).

But again, my point isn't so much about the bill itself but what the thinking is of doing this regardless of literally everything, to the point of resorting to ethically shady tactics to accomplish it. What is the point at this point?


Trump does not believe in the sort of healthcare that other Republicans believe in.


I mean, I genuinely don't believe the President believes in anything when it comes to meaningful politics. He clearly has no clue how health insurance even works in the first place. This is the guy who after being elected, said, "Who knew health care was so complicated?" (Answer: everyone! Literally everyone knew it was pretty complicated!)

But this now gets to another part of the problem. If the President doesn't like this bill (several sources have claimed he told GOP Senators the bill was "mean," and that he has regularly been concerned about the coverage of the bill since it was in the House, and really just wants to put out something popular), then what is going on?

Because...

If the President is feeling increasingly uncomfortable by the Congressional Republicans' plan here, why is he steadfast in his public support of it?

Or alternatively if:

Republicans are scared of publicly appearing to be undermining Trump, so they are willing to let a bad bill go, while simultaneously keeping it as quiet as possible.


....why would they continue to push for a bad bill that even the President doesn't like?

It's a pretty safe bet that the President will not veto a Republican backed bill, so at what point does passing the bill actually undermine the President? To be clear: the President has been increasingly annoyed with Congressional Republicans over the AHCA, it's highly unpopular, and it exacerbates all of the problems with the ACA, which would make the President go back on several key campaign promises.

So I don't see whose interest this bill serves now. It will make the GOP look bad, because they will have passed a bill that hurts people, that most people don't want. It will make the President appear to go back on several campaign promises. It could hurt the GOP in House and Senate races on the horizon. Or even if we could expect some vague leadership from the President, he could wind up vetoing the terrible bill and making the party as a whole look weak (which is not the situation I anticipate happening at all, but it is in the realm of possibilities).

On some level, it's refreshing to see that it isn't just the Democrats who come up with strategies that make virtually no sense, but I feel like I'm going insane trying to figure out what purpose this serves to anyone other than Paul Ryan. It's just the GOP and the President saying they "got a win" by successfully passing a bill, really.

Procedurally, a LOT more should be made about the fact that they're hiding the bill until they can ensure they have the votes. That health insurance companies are being filled in on details, but the American people are not. I think THAT is the part that I find most infuriating. Ok, if the Republicans want a bad bill, fine. There's a rich history of bad bills randomly supported by one party or the other. But a bill this unpopular, and kept secret from the American public, with in-party conversation happening behind closed doors? Seriously, why is more not being made of that?

Posted June 13th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

The Republican party has moved so far to the extreme right that it is impossible for them to enough (R) votes for a healthcare bill that the public would even remotely approve of. Many Republicans in congress want to cut medicaid completely, which is an extremely unpopular position.

The priorities of the Republican party do not reflect the those of the American people. The only reason the GOP is in power is because our elections are fundamentally undemocratic.

Edited June 13th by Temerit
Temerit

If Obama didn't literally name his healthcare thing after himself Trump probably would have just left it alone. Why do politicians in the US feel the need to name their policies ridiculous things like Obamacare and Trumpcare? It has a real bad tasting cult of personality that reminds me of Chairman Mao.



Yeah, as Smiling and Ghowilo point out, the bill was called the Affordable Care Act. And Obama didn't even name it (he was the President, not a Senator). Obviously, his finger prints are on by virtue of being the President and party leader - and it was something he had been pushing for - but he did not write or name the bill.

As is the case with much legislation from the party of the President, the opposition party created a nickname designed to undermine the bill. (Think how Ronald Reagan never called anything "Reaganomics" or "trickle down economics." That was the Democrats attacking his policies in much the same way.)

Posted June 13th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

Deception, including endless blatant lies, passed the ACA in the first place. This is how you go about passing a very bad law, and if Trump does sign a bill that is nearly as poor as most of us fear then I hope 2018 does to the Republicans what 2014 did to the Democrats.

Edited June 13th by Famov
Famov

The ACA was passed over the course of almost a year with much debate and publicizing of the bill. After it passed the House, Republicans got a fair number of concessions on the final version from Democrats because of it. It's hardly comparable to keeping the bill super secret and not opening it up for debate or alterations.

Posted June 13th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

ACA

a good thing


Pick ONE and only ONE

Posted June 14th by #85
#85
Reply to: So, what are the Republicans doing with Senate Trumpcare bill?

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