Friday, June 16, 2017

It's Blood Money: Senate R's and Healthcare

Reporting has been consistently inconsistent on how close Senate Rs are to bringing their healthcare bill to a vote, although most recently the chances for that to happen by early July are said to be alarmingly good.

As to what actually is or will be in the bill, nobody except those R Senators involved really know.  The whole thing is being done in complete secrecy.  So far there doesn't even seem to be a written bill, and there likely will not be until it is time for the vote, which will be called only if the R leadership knows it already has the votes to pass it.

So not only is the process of writing the bill being done without outside scrutiny--even and maybe especially expert scrutiny--once the bill is written, there will be no process for evaluating it.

The entire criteria for what gets into this bill seems to be what will get the needed votes.  They are not evaluating what will make the best healthcare system for the most Americans.  They aren't even getting outside evaluation on whether the thing will work at all.  It mirrors the autocratic White House attitude.  It is irresponsible, cynical and corrupt on an immense scale.

From the beginning, the repeal and replace of Obamacare has been a cynical and carelessly cruel excuse for giving more tax breaks to the very rich.  That is, as they say, the bottom line for the R party.

Here is Sarah Kliff at Vox:

"Republicans do not want the country to know what is in their health care bill.

This has become more evident each day, as the Senate plots out a secretive path toward Obamacare repeal — and top White House officials (including the president) consistently lie about what the House bill actually does.

There was even a brief moment Tuesday where Senate Republicans flirted with the idea of banning on-camera interviews in congressional hallways, a plan quickly reversed after outcry from the press.

“The extreme secrecy is a situation without precedent, at least in creating health care law” writes Julie Rovner, who has covered health care politics since 1986 and is arguably the dean of the DC health care press corps.

I don’t have quite as long of a tenure as Rovner, but I have been covering health care politics since Democrats began debating the Affordable Care Act in 2009. It’s become obvious to me, particularly this week, that Republicans plan to move more quickly and less deliberatively than Democrats did in drafting the Affordable Care Act. They intend to do this despite repeatedly and angrily criticizing the Affordable Care Act for being moved too quickly and with too little deliberation.

My biggest concern isn’t the hypocrisy; there is plenty of that in Washington. It’s that the process will lead to devastating results for millions of Americans who won’t know to speak up until the damage is done. So far, the few details that have leaked out paint a picture of a bill sure to cover millions fewer people and raise costs on those with preexisting conditions.

The plan is expected to be far-reaching, potentially bringing lifetime limits back to employer-sponsored coverage, which could mean a death sentence for some chronically ill patients who exhaust their insurance benefits.

Senate Republicans do not appear to be focused on carefully crafting policy that reflects a more conservative, free-market attempt at achieving President Donald Trump’s goals of covering every American at lower cost. They’re focused on passing something, by whatever means necessary. That may come back to haunt them electorally, but not after millions suffer the consequences."

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