Two men who know less about health care and medical insurance than even I, have suddenly become experts in what is good for the health of our nation. Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have brought the dead horse issue of repealing ACA (Obamacare) back to some form of life in the Senate, apparently in the hope of currying favour with Donald Trump.
There was a time that I had some grudging respect for Senator Graham, but that time has long since passed, the final nail driven into the coffin last weekend when he lowered himself into the dung heap and appeared on Breitbart to make a plea to the masses. The ‘nationalist’ Trump-supporting masses, that is, for the other 65% of us do not appear to matter to him.
The Graham/Cassidy bill looks remarkably like a clone of the bill that failed in July that was drafted by Mitch McConnell and his goons, none of whom know any more than I do about the details of a comprehensive health care plan. Where are the experts? Where are the people for whom this is charted territory, the people who understand the ramifications and effects on We The People? They are not in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, that’s for certain.
When Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins cast ‘nay’ votes on the Senate floor in July, I thought the issue was done … the dead horse had been beaten for the final time. Trump ranted for a bit: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” He told them to go back to the floor and try again, but the senators were tired, it was time for their break, and they had other work to do. They also knew they could not sway the three who voted their conscience.
But now for some reason, Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy are determined to attempt to breathe new life into that dead horse. Make no mistake … it is the same horse and it is still dead. The goal of Graham and Cassidy, I think, is to bully and browbeat and push for a very quick vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has time to remind us of the terrible consequences of the repeal. I hope … I sincerely hope … that nothing has changed and that at the very least, Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins will continue to stand by what they know is right. I believe they will. Senator Rand Paul has also said that he will not vote for the bill. But what about the other 49 senators? Where are their consciences? I think I know where … buried deep in their wallets, gathering dust and being crushed by their fat arses every day.
If the Graham/Cassidy bill fails to pass by September 30th, then it will require a 60% majority to pass, which would mean at least 8 democratic senators would have to cast their votes in favour. I would like, ultimately, to see bi-partisan efforts such as those being proposed by Lamar Alexander and Patti Murray to fix the cracks in the ACA and maintain it, rather than recklessly throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
On Saturday, Graham appeared on Breitbart to convince those who watch such things that his plan would somehow make them happy, I suppose. One thing he said, though, sticks in my craw:
“So the goal is to get the money and the power out of Washington. This is not about repealing and replacing Obamacare. This is about stopping a march towards socialism.”
This was in reference to the single-payer plan laid out last week by Bernie Sanders. I can speak only for myself, but if Bernie’s plan is considered socialist, and Graham’s plan is anti-socialist, then call me a socialist. Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom all have universal health care, and none are socialist nations. Senator Graham is wrong, just plain wrong. He is simply more interested in pleasing Trump and the lobbyists for the insurance industry than he is in seeing to the best interests of those who have voted him into office since 2003.
My best guess is that this latest incarnation will have essentially the same effect, that of leaving between 24-26 million people without health insurance and without the ability to pay for their own health care. If so, that is an abomination. Graham claims the states will then implement their own health care bills, but we all know that a) these things take time, and b) we cannot always trust the states to act in our best interests.
Meanwhile, folks, it is time to start once again making those phone calls and writing those emails once again. This administration is going to owe us all new laptops and cell phones before it’s all over. Some analysts are saying it looks close this time, but of course it was close last time, and if Senator McCain had not pulled a rabbit out of his hat, it would have passed in July. But we cannot rest on our laurels, and we cannot count on ‘right’ to win out over ‘might’, for Trump is a powerful bully who wears people down with his schoolyard tactics. Please, take a few minutes to write to your senators and let them know how you feel.
We need to put this idea of repealing ACA at all costs, to bed. If the GOP had a viable plan whereby everyone … everyone … would have access to affordable health care, I would not object. Obviously, they do not. It is not the senators who need to worry about how they will be able to afford a doctor next time they need one … no, it is you and I, our friends and our families.