Sunday, May 7, 2017

It wasn't the content Republicans were celebrating. It was finally being able to say: "We repealed Obamacare."

Here is another perspective that explains many of the questions about why the content didn't matter even to those who voted for the House's health care bill that was carelessly tossed together and rushed to a vote before getting the Congressional Budget Office's analysis.

It also explains what the Republicans were celebrating in what seemed like a tone-deaf, crass self-congratulation for assigning millions of Americans to bad health and death.

They passed a bill just to be able to say (finally) they lived up to their seven year long slogan to:  "repeal Obamacare."   It would have destroyed them politically if they failed, after voting to do so about 60 times in seven years -- and, despite having control over all three houses (the House, the Senate, and the White one), they still couldn't contrive anything to take its place.

In addition, they didn't have to worry about having to face the consequences of a bad bill, because the Senate was going to construct a better bill that they expect to pass.

The House has the unique problem of being so divided even within its own partisan caucus, with the Freedom Caucus (aka Tea Party) and the Tuesday Group pulling in opposite directions, making it almost impossible to get a majority to agree on anything.

So the bottom line is:   Forget this bill they passed.   It was for political show, never expected to be implemented.  The celebration was about putting a period on their past claims.   Now they'll move forward, starting over with what the Senate comes up with after it throws the House bill straight into the trash -- and hoping everyone forgets what their own bill would actually have done.

There was another factor, as explained by Paul Kane in the Washington Post.  It was for the House GOP majority "to show it can actually govern."   Kane continues:

"President Trump’s advisers became increasingly concerned about how little they had to show in terms of early victories. . . .  Trump and Ryan needed a jointly-forged victory, almost any victory, so that they could figure out a way forward. Not just on health care but on other critical items, particularly the tax overhaul."

We'll see, in the 2018 midterm election, if not before, whether this was worth it.  Even if the Senate writes and passes a bill that can become law, the House will have initially passed a very bad law that would have hurt a lot of people.   Their constituents are deeply angry with them for that.   Will it last until 2018?  I think so.

As for us Democrats, there's no need for us to get so distressed over what damage the House bill would do.   Save it for when we get the Senate bill.    They have said the Senate will not vote on their version until after the CBO has scored it and we have an objective assessment of who it will help, who it will hurt, and how much it will cost.   That will undoubtedly force the Senate to produce something not quite as bad, but we'll have to wait to see just how bad.

So don't use up your distress over this now -- but for damn sure let's remember it when we vote in 2018 and replace these people.

And, for those of us who live in GA-06 District, let's defeat the Republican Karen Handel on June 20th and send Democrat Jon Ossoff to replace Tom Price in the House.   Handel wasn't part of this clown crowd, but she would have been a party loyalist and cast her vote for the monstrosity.  Trump just did a fund-raiser for her last weekend, so of course he would have claimed her loyalty.

So let's start the accountability backlash now.


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