Friday, March 24, 2017

They are probably gonna pass it

There was a moment during the long debate over what would become the Affordable Care Act when the Democrats had caved in so badly, when they had so shittied up an already shitty, insurance based, approach to health care reform, that some of us suggested it was time for Obama to draw a line in the sand. Make them start over. Demand a public option or threaten to walk away.

But we were unreasonable crazy liberuls and Obama never was the sort to pick a fight over anything anyway so that wasn't going to happen. Trump has a different approach.
Washington (CNN) To make a deal, you have to know when it's time to walk.

President Donald Trump ripped that classic move from his boardroom playbook Thursday night, seeking to splinter the resistance of House Republicans refusing to pass the health care bill that has left his new administration in limbo.

After days of trying to charm members of Congress, Trump gave them an ultimatum: If they don't vote yes Friday, he will move on and saddle them with the shame of failing to repeal Obamacare, a cherished GOP goal.

Maybe that's stupid. Maybe it isn't.  And I  could always be wrong,  but I think the Republicans will find the votes to pass their repeal.  Even if I am wrong and they don't do it today, there is nothing stopping them from doing it eventually.

Thus far the only roadblock in the House is a group of conservatives who, amazingly, do not believe the current bill is cruel enough yet. That's not really going to be an obstacle in the long run. It's a dispute without any real disagreement. Maybe if there were some sort of opposition actually asserting a more progressive vision, Medicare For All, for example, then there would be a sufficient counterweight on which to anchor an actual fight. But the Democrats are too cowardly to propose such a thing.

There's no serious resistance to the Republicans' desire to take health care away from Americans and replace it with tax cuts for the rich. That is, after all, what this whole thing is about in the first place. It's what the shitty bill the House couldn't pass yesterday does. And it's what the even shittier renegotiated version they'll supposedly vote on today does as well.  All of which is to say there is no fundamental disagreement among Republicans here. They're probably going to pass this.

The Senate debate will be slower and more difficult for them but,  again, I would caution against the pretense advanced by some, like Stephanie Grace here, that there are reasonable people among this extremely right wing collection of Republican Senators. Grace seems to think Bill Cassidy is going to save the day somehow. But, really, this is just the Overton Window are work. In a room full of yahoos, the yahoo who appears to be the least aggressive,  now defines the "centrist" position which serves to normalize the dangerous behavior of all of them.

Also Bill Cassidy is full of shit.
When Louisiana resident Andrea Mongler wrote to her senator, Bill Cassidy, in support of the Affordable Care Act, she wasn’t surprised to get an email back detailing the law’s faults. Cassidy, a Republican who is also a physician, has been a vocal critic.

“Obamacare” he wrote in January, “does not lower costs or improve quality, but rather it raises taxes and allows a presidentially handpicked ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ to determine what coverage and treatments are available to you.”

There’s one problem with Cassidy’s ominous-sounding assertion: It’s false.

The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, includes no “Health Choices Commissioner.” Another bill introduced in Congress in 2009 did include such a position, but the bill died — and besides, the job as outlined in that legislation didn’t have the powers Cassidy ascribed to it.
In all likelihood the House is going to pass the repeal today. If not, then all they will have done is called Trump’s bluff and eventually everyone will come back to the table and they will do this thing they all very loudly say they want to do. And when they do, the Senate may not provide the backstop many people seem to think it will. But, as always, it doesn't hurt to call their offices.

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