Beaten down on health care

I started writing this post four days ago.

I had trouble getting a handle on just where repeal and replace was going. And I’m not the only one.

The saga of repeal and replace has had more twists and turns than a LeCarré novel. And while it’s unlikely to bring down this Western democracy, repeal and replace will have a dramatic effect on the 1/6 of the US economy that is healthcare. More importantly, it will undercut the health of millions of Americans whose poorer health will send a shock wave through our society and the rest of our economy.

During this past week procedural questions came up. Did all of the original bill qualify under the Byrd Amendment or did parts of it need 60 votes to pass?

One bill under consideration became four. Drafts were not available for review. Senate Whip John Cornyn was quoted as saying we might not have the “luxury” of seeing the bills before the vote. And the CBO couldn’t sore ghost bills so we might not have the “luxury” of knowing their impact before the vote. But it’s estimated that somewhere between 22 and 32 million Americans would loose their health insurance if any of the repeal and replace schemes that have been discussed are enacted.

There was supposed to be a vote last week.

But then there were defections and the Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass the bill, not even with Vice President Pence’s tie breaking vote.

Trump pulled back support for Obamacare sign ups in 18 cities.

And then Senator McCain went home to Arizona for surgery.

Everything came to a halt in the Senate, at least in public. The vote was delayed. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with gliobastoma.

And those reporting on Capitol Hill warned their readers to not get distracted, the repeal and replace effort wasn’t dead. Vox published a flowchart showing the many steps ahead.

Vox - repeal and replace flowchart


Yesterday, Senator McCain returned to the Senate floor and gave a rousing speech taking his colleagues to task for partisan bickering and calling for a bi-partisan approach to creating true healthcare reform.

It was too little, too late.

McCain then joined the Republicans in a vote along party lines that, with the vice president’s tie breaking vote, restarted consideration of repeal and replace.

Today the Senate is voting on health care bills and amendments.

Voting blind. With little information about what’s in those bills and amendments. And with no independent analysis.

We deserve better than this.

Call your Senators and let them know what you think about the job they’re doing on healthcare reform.


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