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Night of Irony

Late last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill that nobody had read (or even seen before). Then he brought the bill up for a vote this morning at 1am. Seriously. I’ll probably be using that word a few times in this rant.

But it gets even crazier. Nobody liked this law. It didn’t really count as repealing Obamacare, but still increased insurance premiums and kicked at least 16 million off their health insurance. It was a classic lose-lose. In fact, a bunch of Republican senators said they would not vote for it unless Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promised that the bill as written would not become law. Seriously. Which Ryan did promise.

And the heat was on, because the Republicans truly became the party of Trump, looking for a victory, any victory, regardless of the consequences. Winning to them was everything; anything else be damned, including their constituents, the people who would die for lack of health coverage, and even their country. Political theater was more important than America.

But it didn’t work. The ACA survived the night, but apparently only because John McCain wanted to cement his reputation (and legacy) as a maverick. More political theater, since he had earlier voted for repeal. Or maybe he just wanted to stick it to Trump, since during the campaign Trump had questioned McCain’s status as a war hero, and had said “I like people who weren’t captured.”.

What makes this doubly ironic is that immediately afterwards, McConnell tried to blame the Democrats for the loss, saying “I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating, probably pretty happy about this. But the American people are hurting and they need relief.” Really? Obamacare is quite popular now. Who needs relief, the wealthy who are hurting for their trickle-down tax cuts financed by the money saved by kicking people off their health insurance?

McConnell also said “And “Our friends on the other side decided early on they didn’t want to engage with us in a serious way, a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare”. Actually, from a pure political standpoint it would have been far better for the Democrats if the Republicans had succeeded in repealing Obamacare. That would have assured that they won big in the midterm elections next year. So in fact the Democrats put what was right for the country and their constituents above what was best for them politically. I think that is pretty seriously something this country needs more of.

© Chris Britt

Also published on Medium.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    I who hate obamacare the most is hurting because I am not super wealthy to not affected by it.

    Having said that, it seems clear that there are more people who like it vs more who hate it. So in pure majority rules, this will stay. My only recourse was legal one that this is forcing something minority to do something because of majority. The Obama defense was saying it is penalty, John Roberts ruled it as tax and saved it. On technical ground it was never originated in house so it cannot be tax, so that is some grey area. But again courts have ruled it legal, majority wants it, I can continue to suffer in defeat.

    My best compromise is that, if it has to be socialized medicine then get rid of corporate social welfare of insurance companies.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    If the state puts the cap on the insurance companies “administration costs” then it isn’t corporate welfare for the insurance companies. New York has a 16% cap. Our insurance companies handle Medicare and Medicaid couching the names in disguise so people don’t know what other people are on.
    Having encouraged a couple to get on Medicaid who were so fiercely independent, I’m so happy I live in New York State. She brought in the income while he works two jobs that pay little and cause him to work a lot. (raising beef cattle and delivering newspapers) She worked as a cook in a State College. She saw all the food going home with the other workers and being an honest person, turned them in. The Union represented their clients by sending thugs to beat her up while her husband was out delivering papers. No one would give her unemployment insurance. One lawyer after another. She needed her meds. Living on a farm, they will have enough food, drive old beaten up vehicles, are just the nicest people. And now she can get her meds for her short term memory from the beating. That’s not ACA,that is Healthy New York for self employed people. They didn’t need ACA but I’m sure Medicaid sponsors this.

    Hassan do you know that Medicaid pays for the schooling of the special education students? In New York State it is 30K a year per student.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  3. Jonah wrote:

    I’m not proud of myself but i was hoping for ocare to be repealed. As I’ve said numerous times, sometimes the only way people learn from their mistakes is if they experience the consequence of that mistake. Obviously the american public hasnt quite learnt from their mistake because they elected a guy who put in place a regulatory climate similar to what we had before 2008. But maybe 2nd times the charm and they’ll be wiser in subsequent years.

    The endless drama from this trump admin is exhausting. But it can have a good outcome. Democrats will likely trot out a squeaky clean candidate without email server issues and other baggage. Or at least i hope they do. Hopefully republicans are also exhausted by this though based on polls it doesnt seem that way. The only worry i have is that from the republican front a candidate far worse than trump could emerge.

    Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 1:33 am | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    Hassan, join the crowd. I pay for all sorts of things I do not wish to pay for. I don’t like paying for the bloated military spending with never an audit. I don’t like paying for private and religious schools. I don’t like paying for our leader’s constant golfing weekends, or the extended family’s Secret Service Protection. I don’t like paying high prices for my medications while big pharma gets richer and richer. The cost of excessive incarceration for drug use and other non violent crimes. But that’s what we do in the country. We ease burdens on the rich so they can get richer, we tax the poor so they can get poorer. The middle gets screwed by both ends.

    Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink
  5. redjon wrote:

    Seriously, if the Democrats had been interested in engaging with Republicans in a serious way, a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare, then they would have broken down the closed doors of the meetings at which Republicans were discussing it.

    Seriously, how do Democrats expect to be taken seriously about their lack of engagement if they are willing to let the fact that they are locked out of the process keep them from engaging in the process?

    I mean, seriously?!?

    Monday, July 31, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  6. redjon wrote:

    Actually, Hassan, the AFA was first introduced in the House as the “Service Members Home Ownership TAX Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590) by Charlie Rangle of NY on Sept 17, 2009; committee consideration by Ways and Means; passed the House on October 8, 2009 with a nearly unanimous vote of 419-0; passed the Senate as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on December 24, 2009 with a vote of 60-39 with amendment; House agreed to Senate amendment March 21, 2010 with a vote of 219-212; signed into law by President Obama March 23, 2010.

    So, yes, the AFA DID originate in the House and yes, it DID begin as a tax bill.

    And I agree, by the way… get rid of the zero-value-added markup of our health care delivery by insurance companies who provide exactly the same service as the U.S. government provides in delivering Medicare except that private insurers add a hefty profit margin for themselves.

    Monday, July 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink