Opinion: GOP Senate ashamed of its health-care bill

(AP)

No Senate Democrats have been allowed to participate in any way in the drafting of a major health-care reform bill taking place somewhere in the bowels of the Capitol. They have even been kept in total darkness about what the plan might look like, which represents a major break in how the Senate has operated.

But what really pushes the process into absurdity is the fact that most Republicans have no idea either.  Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services, said this week that he hasn’t been allowed to see a draft copy. Neither he nor his staff have been given access to any of the bill’s language, even though they would have to implement it.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and former chair of the Senate Health and Human Services committee, says he doesn’t know what’s in the bill either. “Well, join the crowd,” he said when a reporter noted that no one had seen the bill. “I’m in the same category.”

“I’ve said from Day 1, and I’ll say it again,” complained Sen Bob Corker of Tennessee, another prominent Republican. “The process is better if you do it in public, and that people get buy-in along the way and understand what’s going on. Obviously, that’s not the route that is being taken.”

“If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asked a reporter from NBC.

Under the arrangement established by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill is scheduled to be introduced sometime in the next two weeks and will go straight to the Senate floor for a vote, with no committee hearings, no testimony about its impact, no chance for outside groups and experts to weigh in on its impacts, and no possibility of amendments. There may be a day or at most two of debate before the final vote.

Not surprisingly, that has Democrats more than a little furious:

 

McCaskill is of course correct. Conservative mythology holds that Obamacare was rammed through Congress without an opportunity for open debate. Like much conservative mythology, it has no basis in fact. Under Democratic leadership, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee spent 13 days publicly debating and voting upon aspects of the bill. The Senate Finance Committee devoted another eight days of public debate and votes, considering well over 100 proposed amendments and holding almost 80 roll-call votes on proposed changes.

It then went to the Senate floor, where it was debated for 25 days and passed seven months after its introduction. These timetables are not claims open for refutation; they are facts contained and documented in the Congressional Record.

You cannot make good policy this way, but McConnell has never been about good policy-making. This is about hiding a bill for as long as possible, even from his own Republican caucus, because he knows it cannot withstand sustained scrutiny and will become increasingly unpopular with each passing day in the spotlight.

And that’s what’s so mind-boggling about it all: It’s bad policy, but as political strategy it’s even worse.

UPDATE:

Tara Golshan, a reporter for Vox, posts this transcript of an interview in which she tries but fails to discuss health-care policy with Sen. John McCain:

It ain’t about policy.

Reader Comments 0

2782 comments
tiday
tiday

as Walter responded I'm startled that a stay at home mom can get paid $6185 in four weeks on the internet . view it now +++++++++++++www.cash.jobs34.com


ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

If the President issues an EO in the name of national security that all black people have an 8:00p curfew, it would not hold up in court. So the "President has the authority" argument is really insufficient.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@ScubaSteve He doesn't have that authority. He does on immigrants: 8 US Code 1182

" Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."

Feel better?

13Directors
13Directors

@Fan4500 @ScubaSteve "I would, and I am familiar with that," Yates responded. "And I'm also familiar with an additional provision ... that says no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, and place of birth. That I believe was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that's been part of the discussion with the courts ... whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you described."

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

While I'm thankful Steve Scalise is recovering from an injury he certainly did not deserve, don't let a tragedy convince you that he's not scum. Because he is.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@gotalife obama stayed out because of his sympathy for Muslims.
 

Fan4500
Fan4500

@Visual_Cortex @Fan4500 @gotalife Muslims as in extremist, the fighters, the terrorist, ISIS, etc. obama avoided fighting these terrorist and allowed them to flourish, now this Administration has to deal with it and are dealing with it. Sec. Mattis will take care of it.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

My predicted shining judicial moment of 2017 will be when Gorsuch votes to uphold the lower court decisions in the travel ban case. I will have a great laugh about that if it happens.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Fan4500 @ScubaSteve The Federal Circuit courts have looked at the same US codes you are going to provide me. Still denied the authority. Anything else?

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Fan4500 @ScubaSteve You have literally no idea what you are talking about. We know you know nothing once you trot out the "overturn rate" argument. Particularly when you do it inaccurately.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Fan4500 @ScubaSteve I have read the stats. They are nearly meaningless. All of the Circuit courts are overturned at roughly the same rate. And even then the sample sizes are SO small of cases that making any inference is really pretty ignorant.

rimsky
rimsky

On side news a Kenneshaw student becomes Miss Georgia.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

You can always count on these things:

1. Someone on the right will bring race up in ANY argument.

2. If they find a way to add both Al and Jessie into the conversation that's a double bonus in race bingo.

3. Someone from the right will mention the word, plantation, at least 200x's in any conversation.

4.'Someone from the right will say they are NOT racist, just stating facts.

5. Philo, the unrepentant troll,.will post something incredibly dumb on the blog so that he can receive the attention he has longed for all of.his life.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Infinite Hope

  Kam's play on race.

I made no mention of race.

Why do you just make sh it up?

gotalife
gotalife

May said she will attack extremism from both sides on land and the Internet.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

AJC reports Ossoff was out campaigning this weekend with John "Race Baiter" Lewis.

Jesse & Al must have had scheduling conflicts.

skydog12
skydog12

You are the race baiter,bigot boy.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Philo_Farnsworth Do you feel all of those who fought for civil rights (and got them) are a "race baiters"? 


Do you feel they didn't really do anything for race relations and just push "race baiting" as a political tool? 



Or do you find that their work was important for race relations in the US? (you know, like most history books.) 

gotalife
gotalife

World war III broke out in Syria.


Bomb the crap out of putin.

skydog12
skydog12

His bunker is built with bales of weed.

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

So when they come and "smoke him out" of hiding they'd actually do him a solid!