Tell A Bigger Lie

It’s late September, your Party gained control of both the executive and legislative branches of government and you have yet to pass a piece of significant legislation. What do you do? The answer Republicans came up with last week is to tell an even bigger lie. It’s a little more complex so let’s explore.

In the beginning of the Obama administration the Republicans did everything they could to delay the passage of Obamacare. Then after some fourteen months of hearings and debate they refused to vote for it. They went so far as to tell the zombie lie of how the Democrats crafted the bill behind closed doors and passed it in the middle of the night. (Those hearing and votes I watched on C-SPAN must have been an LSD flashback. The problem is I have never taken LSD.) For the next seven years or so they went out on the campaign trail and promised voters that if they would only elect enough of them they would instantly repeal and replace Obamacare.

By November of 2016 the voters have done their part. On January 20, 2017 Donald Trump was inaugurated completing the “puzzle”. In the interim the Republicans had been busy telling more elaborate and apparently convincing lies but they forgot to do one crucial thing: come up with an alternative plan to Obamacare. In the scramble they came up with several versions of Trumpcare and the people rejected them all because they stunk. (Sorry for using the childish word but it is simply appropriate.)

With September coming to a close and with it the reconciliation window in the Senate they came up with what appears to be their final attempt (for this round) the Graham-Cassidy bill.

It appears that Mitch McConnell will bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote next week. At this writing the bill’s prospects are not that good but passage cannot be completely ruled out. The bill did not go through committee. There were no hearings. There was certainly insufficient time for public comment. The proposed vote would take place without a complete CBO score, (hey, it’s only about 20% of the U.S. economy and the health care of our nation in the balance).

The constraints of time and space don’t allow me to voice all my objections to the bill so I will concentrate on a single shortfall – it failure to protect those with pre-existing conditions. Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy (the bill’s authors) insist the legislation does protect those with pre-existing conditions. They are either liars, don’t know what is in their own bill or are severely challenged when it comes to understanding the English language. Admittedly, I haven’t followed Senator Cassidy’s career for a long time; the same cannot be said for Senator Graham’s. I often disagree with Graham but I know he speaks fluent English and I don’t consider him to be mentally challenged.

There is a lot of numbers manipulation in the defense of the bill but I’ll try to be simple and brief. The money allocated for Medicaid shrinks considerably and is block granted to the states. Now I’ll just look at four (the first three being the states I have lived in) and you decide how comfortable you are with that situation.

In New York, a plethora of state legislators (mostly Democrats) have recently been driven out of office over “monetary indiscretions” involving state funds and contracts.

Florida Governor, Republican Rick Scott, took the fifth 75 times in a single deposition referencing his actions in regard to Medicare payments. Under his leadership state employees are forbidden to use the term “climate change” in any written or oral communications.

Since the Republicans took control of the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011 they have passed 14 pieces of legislation that the courts have in part or in whole declared to be unconstitutional.

The Republican Governor Sam Brownback led Republicans in Kansas almost put the state broke since they took over. In fact, the Legislature had to override a Brownback veto raising tax revenue enough to stay somewhat solvent.

Can you really trust the states to run the program without taking people’s health care coverage away from them? If you trust the states I have another one for you. In the event of a dispute with the states the “umpire” is HHS Secretary Tom Price.

Even this brief review of the bill begs the question: Why would so many Republicans support it? The biggest answer is the pressure from deep pocketed donors who want a return on their investment via a tax cut.

The Republicans are still trying to repeal most of the good works of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Assuming that this attempt fails (and that is far from a sure thing at this writing) if anyone thinks that we have heard the last of attempts to repeal Obamacare they haven’t been paying attention. The lies simply resurrect and get larger.

Note: This article was written early Friday afternoon for Sunday Morning’s publishing.   

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