Opinion: A vote that will be deeply regretted

(AP)

Senate Republicans face a major, major political problem. I get that. They have embraced the repeal and replacement of Obamacare as a moral crusade, as the animating goal of their party and their movement, and now that they have control of the entire Washington establishment, they have proved themselves spectacularly incapable of pulling it off.

As a result, the Graham-Cassidy bill, scheduled for a vote next week, is “the last stage coach leaving Dodge City” for Republicans, as Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas described it. Like Roberts, most Senate Republicans don’t really try to defend the bill in policy terms, because they can’t. It’s a purely political vehicle, cobbled together out of bits and pieces of previous failed efforts in order to try to solve a political problem.

But here’s the thing: This purely political vehicle has a very real chance of becoming actual law. If it passes the Senate, it will have significant partisan momentum behind it, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has already announced that he intends to put it on the floor for a straight up-or-down vote. If the House passes it as well, it will be sent to the desk of President Trump, who will sign it faster than you can say “Rocket Man.”

If you’re a Republican politician with any semblance of responsibility or commitment to public service — I’m looking right at you, Johnny Isakson — that reality has to give you serious pause.  This is not some show vote; there is no safety net this time, and there are no takebacks. If you cast a vote in the affirmative next week in hopes of saving your party some political embarrassment, and this subsequently becomes law, what are you going to say later when you look in the mirror?

Are you going to congratulate yourself for having passed a carefully thought-through, well-vetted piece of legislation that is quite literally a matter of life or death for your constituents? Or will you look back in shame, wondering what on earth you have done for the political equivalent of 30 pieces of silver?

Because make no mistake, this would be a disaster for health-care policy in this country, for tens of millions of Americans who will lose coverage, for tens of millions more with pre-existing conditions and in the long term for the Republican Party as well.  Insurers hate the bill; hospitals hate the bill; voters hate the bill; doctors hate the bill; patient advocacy groups hate the bill, rural health-care providers hate the bill. All of those groups have competing interests; getting them to agree, unanimously, on any major aspect of health-care policy would ordinarily be difficult. Yet on this bill, they are united in opposition.

“We believe the Graham-Cassidy amendment would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilize health insurance markets, and decrease access to affordable coverage and care,” as the president of the American Medical Association put it, warning that it will also undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

In a recent interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE, Isakson disputes the claim that the bill would expose those with pre-existing conditions to much higher, even unaffordable premiums. But again, just about everybody outside the Republican Party — from insurers to doctors to hospitals to health-care experts — say that such assurances are false.

In a letter sent this week to Senate leaders, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, representing Medicaid officials in all 50 states, also pointed out the damage that such a hastily drafted and poorly vetted piece of legislation would do, warning that the promised flexibility in Medicaid doesn’t begin to compensate for its spending cuts.

“Taken together, the per-capita caps and the envisioned block grant would constitute the largest intergovernmental transfer of financial risk from the federal government to the states in our country’s history,” they write, warning that most states are totally unprepared to make that transition in the unrealistic time frame permitted:

“The scope of this work, and the resources required to support state planning and implementation activities, cannot be overstated. States will need to develop overall strategies, invest in infrastructure development, systems changes, provider and managed-care-plan contracting, and perform a host of other activities,” they point out. “The vast majority of states will not be able to do so within the two-year time frame envisioned here, especially considering the apparent lack of federal funding in the bill to support these critical activities.”

That’s the kind of basic problem that would be identified and fixed through a normal committee process. But that process didn’t happen in the Senate, and it’s not going to happen in the House either. As a result, the Graham-Cassidy bill is riddled with such unresolved issues. As the state Medicaid directors also point out, the bill “would not even have a full CBO score until after its scheduled passage, which should be the bare minimum required for beginning consideration.”

Read that again, because it’s important: A CBO score should be the bare minimum before you even begin to consider such a bill, yet Republicans are rushing to complete enactment before such a score can be delivered.

Republican rhetoric holds that we should devolve Medicaid responsibility back to the 50 states, because they supposedly know the issues best. Yet here we have the very people who are running those state programs, begging Congress not to make such major changes in such a slapdash manner, and their strongly worded advice is being ignored.

It’s being ignored because the last stagecoach is leaving Dodge City, and Republicans don’t really give a damn where it’s headed.

Reader Comments 0

1404 comments
Jean Carkner
Jean Carkner

What vote, Opinion? Only thing that came up were comments.

Tracy Graham
Tracy Graham

The AMA is behind the policies that allow doctors and hospitals to price their services out of price reach for tens of millions of Americans. They have no problem collecting 80% of their outrageous charges from the government and/or insurance companies and then bankrupting middle-class Americans with 20% co-pays and charges that the insurance company denied as excessive. I find it amusing that the AMA, while pillaging middle-class families, feigns concern for the same. If you're that damned concern, go after insurance companies that deny your fees, work with all parties to get rid of high co-pays that are destroying the middle-class, adjust your rates to meet the financial realities of your customers. Would it really hurt doctors and hospital CEOs to drive a Chevy instead of a Mercedes and live in the suburbs with their patients instead of in McPalaces inside exclusive gated/walled communities?

Pamela Dilg-king
Pamela Dilg-king

Yep just keep your self on that Democrat Plantation buddy

Kent Foster
Kent Foster

Wow Pamela, you have busted out "Plantation" now twice in this thread. It's not even clever, but keep trying if it makes you feel smart.

Lewis Clardy
Lewis Clardy

Bookman...another 'puppet biased hack' of the Democratic Party...no substance to him...

Rhon Lee
Rhon Lee

Everyone is a HACK when they disagree with you...FOH

Lewis Clardy
Lewis Clardy

Rhon Lee ...has little to do with differences...but, that is above your comprehension, obviously...

Tylene Freeman
Tylene Freeman

Georgia politicians have already openly said and done everything they can to obstruct the ACA. To the point many Georgians absolutely hate the ACA, and blame the ACA for the problems that the politicians have enabled. Instead of blaming the politicians and the insurance companies they have sided with. They have literally gotten away with it and convinced their constituents to hate the ACA even though it was supposed to help. Why would they think any different about this when they continue to get support, continue to get reelected and many even run unopposed..

Don S. Rowley
Don S. Rowley

Lying and hypocrisy are the cornerstones of the Republican Party. They sure like to call themselves the Jesus party but everything they do is far from the path of right and just. I hope this bill passes - their supporters need to feel the brunt of voting for these people.

Kathy
Kathy

Same story. A bunch of rich guys sticking it to citizens and trying to sell us on the idea that losing health care is in our best interest. No, its in their best interest and their friends to make more money off the public. Probably to cut taxes of the wealthy. Regardless of the impact on the health and well-being of the sick, disabled, elderly, etc. Shameful! In addition, has Congress taken any steps in their 'busy' schedules to lower prescription costs for citizens. The best health care and medicine in the world doesn't do you any good if you have not ability to pay for it.

Max Brill
Max Brill

You know it is not going to pass ? Smh

sono
sono

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JonWa
JonWa

A typical demonstration of Republican's recklessnes and irresponsiness on display.

bendedknee
bendedknee

So AJC reports Georgia Hospitals running out of money because Reagancare was to be replaced by Obamacare funding, individual  insurance and excess Medicaid.  Suddenly Cons want socialism restored for  Georgia hospitals instead of personal responsibility.So now our two esteemed Senators running around like chickens with heads cut off. All Reagancare supplements for indigent care paid by taxpayers to hospitals in Georgia end October 1. Good job cons.

TBS
TBS

Let's see here. The poll in the link below is about NFL ratings. The top reason that people are watching less is because of the protests by players. But here is the catch as well as the Paul Harvey. Although the top reason it only accounts for 26 percent of those who say they are watching less NFL games. Take out the protests and you still have 74 percent of those who claim to watch less still watching less for other reasons, i.e the NFL will still have ratings problems.

74 percent of the 100 percent who claim to watch less is much more than the 26 percent who cited the protests. The protests are being used as a crutch for other underlying problems that exists within the NFL and are impacting their ratings.

Again 74 percent of those watching less cite other reasons besides protest. Simple math and percentages - this isn't difficult to grasp if you want to grasp it.

Glad I could assist.

Don't mention it..

https://www.google.com/amp/boston.cbslocal.com/2017/07/27/survey-national-anthem-protests-top-reason-for-nfl-ratings-drop/amp/

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS  Ah - but 74 is only greater than 26 if you can count.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

From TD

"BTW: Social conservatives cannot be happier with Trump and his picks to the courts and stand on Religious freedom and abortion and they are the core of the Republican party. "


Why are Christians against abortion?

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Kamchak  oh but there's more " The Left doesn’t play nice, and that’s why they’ve been winning. It’s time for conservatives to rise up and turn the tide.  "

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Kamchak  The organization is run by a RWNJ called Matthew Vadum - a guy who's made plenty of money off the easily duped.  The guy has written articles about how the poor shouldn't be allowed to vote, ffs.

TBS
TBS

Wall Builders / David Barton ring a bell?

NLHV
NLHV

Now, with Trump announcing a transparent wall, they're Window Builders.

TBS
TBS

Mercedes sees the EV market in the US continuing to grow.

td1234
td1234

Finally someone has actually run the numbers and throws out the facts about what I have been saying for the past 8 months about the MSM polls. 


"Mainstream political polls that were wrong about the 2016 presidential race still use a methodology favoring Democrats, women and younger voters to calculate President Donald Trump's approval ratings, a new analysis contends.

The analysis, posted by Bombthrowers, charges the top polls oversample an average of 29 percent more Democrats than Republicans — chopping about 8 points off the president's approval ratings, from 46 percent to 38 percent."


https://www.bombthrowers.com/article/mainstream-political-polls-commit-fraud/

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@td1234

When charged with something do you accept it as truth?

I hereby charge you with public silliness. Maybe goopers read charge as proof.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@td1234  Always consider the sources when using evidence. This is from a blog that calls itself "bombthrowers." It's criticizing the polls used by MSM, mainly because they are "random polls" that don't take demographics into account. But that's what polls/surveys are supposed to do, to provide a genuine sampling of the population!

td1234
td1234

@OriginalProf When you an analysis of the actual voting demographics and the polling demographics then you will see there is a significant difference in actual voters. The MSM polling is still be biased towards demographic differences in the population as a whole and not by actual voters. 

Kathy
Kathy

John McCain is a national hero not a lemming like the rest who only vote for their own self-interest. They were hired to represent the public who pays their salary. Not bow to party politics when it goes against the best interest of the public. Cutting benefits for the most fragile in this country: elder, sick, disabled. Shame on them!

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@StraightNoChaser

Wouldn't you like to see an NFL owner who when a white star quarterback (who used to date the president's daughter), disrespects our country by refusing to accept an invitation to the White House (because his wife said "no way"), say "fire that SOB right now".

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Trump is giving voice to what the silent majority feels and does through their own personal boycotts. 


Why do you think the networks are saying they are on track to lose $200 million this year on the NFL? 

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser

Are you saying that white people don't want to watch football because black players don't mind doing their job but don't follow all the football plantation rules?


Some teachers don't stand for the pledge - are white folks turning en mass to homeschooling as a protest?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

NFL is losing money because it's being boycotted that's why. It says volumes that Donald Trump, a man long accused of supporting white supremacists and of espousing those views himself, has now used his harshest language for the black men who peacefully protest rather than the neo-Nazi and white supremacy scumbags who murdered Heather Heyer last month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Morata with the hat trick

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I think Steph Curry was measured and meaningful in his remarks about the WH visit. Maybe Trump could try that sometime.

I'm out. My buddy's band is opening the Festival. He's got a wicked slide guitar player playing with him. Wooohooo!

td1234
td1234

In order for the Dems to regain the HOR then they would have to win every single race in red districts that Hillary won. Plus they would have to win every single district in which Trump won by 5 points or less. 


The are 10 democrat US Senate seats up for reelection in states won by Trump. There is 1 republican US Senate seat up for reelection in a state that Hillary won.


Not very good odds when you look at the results so far when TDS is at its peak. Montana? NC? Ossoff? 


0-5 so far.