Above: July 18, 2017 MSNBC screen grab. At you thought he couldn’t look stupider!
Let’s be truthful about the reason that Republicans can’t come up with a viable replacement for Obamacare: they never wanted or planned to replace it. “Replace” was always lip service—and nothing more.
Mulch McConnell’s whiny “It’s over” speech last Thursday night accused Democrats of celebrating the Republican failure. In reality, it’s McConnell and every Republican running in 2018, secretly celebrating their own failure. This shameful process should have been doomed but came within a single vote of passing—which then might have doomed their 2018 reelection chances.
McConnell’s praise for the “endless amount of time” that he and his fellow senators spent on the bill “trying to achieve a consensus,” and for how Trump and Pence “couldn’t have been more involved and more helpful” was a too-obvious load of bullshit. This about a bill that Republicans crafted in a back room, a few hours before the middle-of-the-night vote. Trump wouldn’t be able to describe it past “It’s skinny and it’s about health care. Believe me.”
McConnell of course blamed Democrats: “Our friends on the other side refused to engage in a serious way…” Golly, I wonder where they learned that? We could have had a bipartisan health care law in 2009, except that McConnell instructed all Republican senators to—how shall I put it?—refuse to engage in a serious way. Because in truth, they have no interest in health care for the disadvantaged.
One believable theory making talk show rounds now is that McConnell never wanted to pass repeal, as it would knock too many Republican voters off their health insurance. But he had to perform the Kabuki of trying because so many of those very same voters hated the coverage that they thought was only for undeserving others.
“I and my colleagues did as we promised, and voted to repeal this failed law,” McConnell told the cameras. Boo-hoo, we tried! But a try is not what they promised their voters for seven years. As Yoda told Luke Skywalker: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Critics explained the truth very carefully and simply: each variant of repeal-and-replace (including repeal only) was really about taking health insurance away from the poor so that the rich could have more cash in their piles. This is capitalism at its worst. You want us to buy health care for people who can’t afford it themselves? Why should we care about them?
It could have gone the other way, so easily. John McCain came back to the Senate barely a week after brain surgery, when he could have killed the bill simply by staying home on his doctor’s orders. He voted in favor of the earlier versions, which would also deprive millions of health insurance, and he voted for proceeding to debates and votes with no committee or public hearings.
So McCain’s vote to kill “skinny repeal” was a welcome surprise to me. Did it surprise him too?
In addition to McCain, other so-called moderates Lindsay Graham, Rob Portman, Ron Johnson, and Shelley Moore Capito all expressed unhappiness with the Republican process and its results. But in the end, they all voted for the skinny repeal bill. What was that term again? “Lip service.”
The disaster didn’t happen, the bill didn’t pass, and that is major. But I do have a complaint. Most of the news stories are about John McCain casting the deciding vote. What a hero! I wonder what Senators Collins and Murkowski were doing at the time? Lacking a penis, perhaps.
I am delighted that at least three Republicans decided to act for their country instead of dropping this stinking dead rat of a law at the feet of their party’s demented “leader.” But I wish they had come to their senses during Obama’s presidency. They did not. For eight years, each of these senators went along with McConnell’s scorched earth strategy of opposing everything Obama.
And I will never, ever forget that McCain rammed Sarah Palin up the national rectum in 2008. She’s still there, like a giant plug of fiber. So: I thank you, Senators, for your singular act of good sense. From my heart. But I still hope that you lose your next election, to a Democrat.
McConnell’s whole approach to the repeal was a hybrid of hypocrisy and absurdity. It’s no coincidence whatsoever that that phrase also describes Trump’s presidency. In the end, forty-nine Republican Senators went along with the skinny repeal travesty of a bill. Forty-nine people with excellent government health coverage for themselves, voted to strip even the most basic health insurance from 15-16 million other people.
The final bill was drawn up hurriedly and trotted out in the middle of the night. That mimicked the basic pattern for each of the several repeal proposals: release the bill at the last minute, allow little time for examination or debate, and insist on a vote before the critics can uncover the horrors within.
So let’s be clear: Drumpf isn’t the only fascist in this government.
The “skinny repeal” bill would also have eliminated the individual mandate, taxes on the rich, and every other way that Obamacare actually pays for itself. That, while the list of medical needs not covered in the proposed bill reads more like the things that people actually need covered. For starters: maternity coverage, and prescription drugs. It defunded Planned Parenthood for a year—and good luck restoring that funding. Planned Parenthood provides many maternity services, as well as cancer screening and parenting support).
In plain English, a major goal of these bills was control of women’s sexuality—by aging white men with misplaced morality from a previous century (and not necessarily the most recent one). Rein in those wanton wenches!
Ugly as these bills were, some Senators—Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Jerry Moran—threatened to vote against them because they didn’t go far enough in stripping away health care from the poor. Keep those assholes in mind when you wonder if GOP moderates have become heartless. It’s all relative, baby!
It’s all absurd, too. Consider the contradictory dynamics behind that final vote on Thursday night/Friday morning, for the final version—the “skinny repeal”:
Everyone knew the bill was a turd that would strip away health insurance from millions of their own voters. Several senators, McCain among them, sought an “ironclad promise” from Paul Ryan that his House of Representatives would not simply pass the bill, but consign it to a joint House-Senate reconciliation committee.
Republican senators told themselves, and tried to tell us, that the House would never just pass the horrible Senate version. They would form a committee which would improve the bill. Paul Ryan was to be the keeper of that promise.
Yeah, right. In plain English: “I’ll vote for this pile of shit only if you promise that you won’t.” Wait a minute, you’re asking a politician to keep a promise?
Really, why vote for the bill at all? Well, because voting for repeal would please the constituents who want Obamacare gone, and losing the vote would keep the others who actually depend on the ACA. And theoretically, Republicans would not have to explain that the failing Obamacare and the successful ACA are actually the same law.
McCain must have finally realized that the committee would alter very little, or nothing at all. It’s easy to imagine the House passing the law essentially as-is. But forty-nine other Senators didn’t care. Some of them even stood onstage at town halls and heard constituents who would be dead today, if not for the ACA. And then voted for that anyway. This is where we are now.
We dodged a bullet this time, people. But don’t celebrate too long. Tax cuts are next, now unfunded, and the Republicans are reloading.