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?