The horrors of what the GOP almost pulled off reveal both the historic effectiveness of the Resistance and how tenuous the victory over Trumpcare may be
What else is Mike Pence going to say?
“My fellow conservatives, let me be clear. This ain’t over. This ain’t over by a long shot,” the Vice President told conservatives Friday night. “And President Trump and I are absolutely committed to keep our promise to the American people. We were not elected to save Obamacare — we were elected to repeal and replace it.”
There’s some evidence that the GOP Congress has no interest in getting back into the Trumpcare business, given that it’s about as half as popular as a historically unpopular president and, according to one poll, has driven their favorability to a new low, as nearly all Americans seem frustrated at the GOP’s attempts to uninsure 16-32 million while Republican voters are upset their reps haven’t uninsured them fast enough.
But let’s pause to note what they almost pulled off.
Massive cuts to Medicaid passed the House, in violation of a core Trump promise, along with nearly as massive tax breaks for the rich and an unprecedented assault on women’s health. Effective activism exposed the con at the heart of the bill and the tax cuts weren’t included in the Senate bill, but the attack on Planned Parenthood survived and Medicaid cuts actually got bigger.
More effective activism — an amalgamation of heroic tenaciousness from stalwarts including National ADAPT, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn and AARP combined with Resistance-inspired activism from groups like Indivisible and Little Lobbyists fed by the onslaught of digital media infotainment, typified by the podcasts produced by Crooked Media — kept Republican Senators on the run. Ultimately, both the tax breaks and the Medicaid cuts were taken out of the Senate bill that got a vote.
But that bill was a Trojan horse. Hidden inside was a plot to get the House bill through the Senate — or destroy Obamacare trying.
Some say McConnell’s legislative genius was exposed as a fraud by this failure. But Politico‘s Mike Grunwald asks you to consider the scope of the GOP’s near-historic achievement:
Forty-nine Republican senators voted for legislation that many of them admitted was substantively flawed and procedurally absurd—legislation that only 17 percent of the public supported and every major medical interest group opposed; that had been shredded by a bipartisan coalition of governors, the Congressional Budget Office and their own hand-picked parliamentarian. After Trump promised to expand coverage, lower costs and block any cuts to Medicaid, he almost got to sign a bill that the CBO warned would do exactly the opposite, leading to a massive expansion of the uninsured, higher premiums and deductibles for the old and the sick, and hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Medicaid cuts. After attacking Democrats for ramming Obamacare into law with only 60 votes after insufficient hearings, insufficient bipartisan outreach, and insufficient transparency, Republican senators nearly passed Trumpcare with only 50 votes after no hearings, no bipartisan outreach, and so little transparency that even most of them had no idea what would be in it until a few hours before their middle-of-the-night roll call.
My wise Father-in-Law notes that he thinks a few Republicans voted for the bill only because they knew John McCain was going to kill it. I think this misses the point that only a John McCain, who will likely never be on a ballot again, could get away with killing it. No one else was willing to be the staff in the heart of Trumpcare. And John McCain, without his gripes about Senatorial processes and a grudge the size of Tuscon toward Trump, would have been far more likely to just complain about the policy and back it anyway — as he’s done a million times, most notably with the Bush tax breaks.
Which leads us to the next crisis, assuming Trumpcare can’t be put back together from the dead appendages assembled into the vile abomination being crafted by Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.
MoveOn’s Ben Wikler gives you the lay of the scam:
How close are we to the nightmare of seeing these Republican dreams of repealing the best parts of the last 50 years realized?
We now know this: one vote.
And that one vote may be John McCain, a man with an 80 percent rating with the American Conservative Union.
Trust Mike Pence. Until Democrats control at least one House of Congress, our celebrations will all be short and without relief.
The fight over tax breaks is even more crucial to Trump and Pence if Trumpcare can’t be resuscitated.
As Ben notes, “there are a bunch of extremely wealthy people for whom these tax cuts are the entire point of engaging in politics.” Their plan is to make every Republican as terrified of their wrath as Senator Dean Heller is.
There is no GOP plan for health care reform, Obamacare incorporated the only working concepts the right has ever come up with. The GOP plan for our health care system is the same plan it has for the middle class — sabotage and class suicide sold as a promise of making you a millionaire one day, or at least keeping you above non-white people.
We can’t underestimate the potency of this strategy any longer. Because if we let up for even a day, that one vote will say “Yay” to damage that may never be undone.