Monday, June 26, 2017

Whatever Doesn't Kill Obamacare...

There's an expression that "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  

Me, I tend to be a bit more cynical: "Whatever doesn't kill you isn't trying hard enough."  

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, it's the latter view that seems more applicable. 

The first attempt by the House of Representatives to repeal the ACA failed but it didn't make the ACA unassailable or stronger. The failure of the first effort was attributed to the hard core conservatives who didn't think the repeal effort went far enough. So the repeal and replace bill was stripped down even further, gutting even more benefits and protections. 

Whatever doesn't kill Obamacare isn't trying hard enough. 

So the the measure to kill the ACA was made even more palatable to the hard-line conservatives. then the full bore press was on to pass the damn thing because Donald Trump and the Repuplicans needed a win, even though most of the GOP Congressmen had NO idea what was in it. 

With the win, the repeal and replace effort moved to the Senate where those who supported the ACA hoped the more deliberative body would take a more inclusive approach. Instead Sen. Mitch McConnell doubled down on the House strategy. A group of 13 Senators, all Republican and all men, began working in secret on the Senate's version of repeal and replace. There were no hearings. No input from experts. No debate on the Senate floor. Any and all communications relating to the Senate's health care legislation was restricted to those men on McConnell's committee and the exclusion of everybody else.

Until the bill was released last Thursday and it seems that the Senate has created a bill even more draconian in its cuts than the House version. 

But like the House version, there are objections to the Senate bill.  For not being conservative enough.  

Sen. Ron Johnson joined with Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in withholding support because the Senate bill doesn't cut the ACA enough.  

So far, there is only one Republican objection, from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), that the bill is too conservative, specifically on the point that states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare are not protected.  

The ACA's expansion of Medicaid is a particular bone of contention for conservatives. Despite the relative popularity of this part of Obamacare and the success that participating states have had with it (including states with Republican governors), expanding Medicaid is so anathema to conservative doctrine, cutting this expansion is a priority to the GOP, even if their constituents don't want them to do that.  

On ABC's "This Week", White House counselor and soulless simulacrum Kellyanne Conway observed that taking Medicaid away from able-bodied adults is no big deal, because they can go out and find jobs that provide health insurance.

Apparently nobody has told Conway that the majority of able-bodied adults on Medicaid already have jobs, low-paying jobs that typically don’t offer insurance. Take away their Medicaid and they won’t be covered. 

Conway also complained, “Why can’t we get a single Democrat to come to the table, to come to the White House to speak to the president or anyone else about trying to improve a system that has not worked for everyone?” 

Remember, the drafting of the Senate bill was done in secret by a group of only Republicans. Democrats have been systematically excluded from a process to draft legislation they don't want. Why would the Democrats want to be on board with repeal of an act they supported? 

"We find the defendant guilty and sentenced to be hanged! If you would be so kind as to bring your own rope, we would be most appreciative."  

And there is zero incentive for the Republicans to change that. As long as they subscribe to the complete orthodoxy of right wing conservatism and they have control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, they have no reason to bring their legislation to even so much as an inch towards the Democrats. 

So for now, whatever doesn't kill Obamacare will just have to try harder.  

On the subject of health care, I will be undergoing a "Trans-esophageal Echo cardiogram" which means sticking a camera down my throat to take pictures of my heart as my neurologist tries to determine the origins of my stroke from earlier this year. 

I am not in favor of this course of action. 

More about that later this week.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

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