[Photo by Piron Guillaume via Unsplash]

Three Things: #KillTheBill, Kill It Dead, Die Already [UPDATED]

[UPDATE at end] Following the Senate today has been like watching an impeding train wreck. The track’s out just ahead, the conductor knows it, as do all the rest of the crew aboard. Not one of them has the smarts or spine to stop this crazy train.

So while this post was supposed to be about three things, it’s really all just one: the abject failure of Congressional Republicans to fashion effective health care legislation which meets their oath of office by calming the public’s worries to insure domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense against illness and injury, and promoting the general welfare through improved health.

~ 3 ~

Anthony Scaramucci was hired to be a circus act, a distraction from whatever the White House is trying to get away with. Clearly he’s good at that. Screw that. I’ve muted his name on Twitter; you’ll be surprised what you see when you do the same across your social media and news feeds.

~ 2 ~

This, from the rally on Capitol Hill tonight:

It’s this simple. Congress’ health care plan is America’s health care plan. Strip away everything else, start from the ground up, fund it, legislate and launch it.
But sadly the party leading Congress is incapable of vision. Get some, stat.

By the way, for you anti-Democratic Party folks: the Senate Dems are solidly unified behind killing all iterations of Repeal-and-Replace, and tonight, the ‘skinny repeal’. There are no defections. They are willing to work on a good faith bipartisan solution which fixes the ACA’s challenges. Senate GOP could meet them on this, but no — scoring a political win is more important to them than doing the right thing by the American public.

~ 1 ~

If you want to stay on top of this, here are a few key accounts on Twitter:

Andy Slavitt (see his summary of tonight’s expected Senate action on Trumpcare)

Adam Jentleson

Ben Wikler

Ben Jacobs at The Guardian

Right now the Senate is headed toward a vote around 2:00-3:00 a.m. on a bill for which is no text or a CBO score. Paul Ryan will follow suit as soon as possible, no matter what bullshit you hear about not wanting the so-called ‘skinny repeal’. They are doing this in the middle of the night to hide from the public, literally on a Friday late in summer which in the past has been news dump zone. It’s a fraud, a total sham.

~ 0 ~

That’s it. Call Congress now — start with your senators, then your representative. The life you save may be your own. (202) 224-3121 or (855) 712-7845.

UPDATE — 10:35 P.M. EDT —

All eight pages of the ‘skinny repeal’ bill have now been posted.

EIGHT. FUCKING. PAGES.

Read them here.

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41 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    “If the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn’t be forcing this vote in the dead of night.” — Mitch McConnell, 2009 (via @daveweigel)

    It’s like a curse on this White House and the 115th Congress’ GOP — if they’ve ever accused others of something, they’re doing it now.

    UPDATE — 11:05 P.M. EDT —
    Nicholas Bagley, University of Michigan law professor and contributor at The Incidental Economist, offers his take on the ‘skinny repeal’ bill. It’s not pretty; read it here.

    UPDATE — 11:45 P.M. EDT —
    Igor Volsky at CAPAction has an overview of the so-called “skinny repeal” bill as published tonight. Catch it here. Looks banal; it’s anything but. It cuts 14% from the Centers for Disease Control’s budget just so it can go to a vote tonight; this will impact Zika research.

    UPDATE — 12:45 A.M. EDT —
    Sen. Enzi filibustered through the two hours allotted for debate with total dreck, refusing any Democratic senators time to argue against the bill. Employers’ health care plans are also impacted but I can’t find details on this.

    UPDATE — 12:50 A.M. EDT —
    CBO says the bill will result in 20% increases in health care premiums EACH YEAR. This bill is worthless, actually affects red states the most.

    UPDATE — 1:31 A.M. EDT —
    Claire McCaskill sounds a bit hopeful there may be a chance to top this debacle. I’m not holding my breath. Vote’s under way now, still not sure if they have the votes to pass based on the weird activity on the Senate floor.

    UPDATE — 1:37 A.M. EDT —
    Son of a bitch. McCain voted NO along with Collins and Murkowski. Rally outside, which has been shouting “Kill the bill!” all night went wild. McConnell walked by McCain and won’t even look at him.

    That’s it, I’m heading to bed. Brace yourselves — Tweeter-in-Chief will probably have a tantrum if one of his staff doesn’t do it for him.

      • posaune says:

        Yes, thank you, Rayne.   Posting the phone numbers last night was inspiring — I stayed up and called EVERY Repug’s office, including McCain.

         

      • Rayne says:

        You’re welcome, harpie and posaune! This was personal, though. Everyone in my family is in some way a pre-existing condition. My daughter relied on Planned Parenthood as a care provider when she couldn’t make it home from college. My son relied on them for sex education. I can’t budget for my son’s college tuition or my own retirement if I don’t know what my future health care liabilities are. I had to watch this. Glad to share.

  2. arbusto says:

    I admit ignorance to parlimentary procedures the Dems can take to short stop this outsized clusterfuck.  But then I can’t abide Shumer and his Band of Renounds and therefore expect nothing but a bend over and a reach around.

    The wonder that McCain, Grahan and company would vote for a bill they acknowlege is as shit sanwich on the hope that Ryan will kill it in conference boggles the mind.

    • Rayne says:

      You’re being unfair in this case to all Senate Dems. Seriously. I said they’ve had no defections and I meant it. It would be an enormous coup to peel even one Dem away and it hasn’t happened under Schumer.

      There are limits to what the minority party can do. They are already going to wallpaper the place with amendments.

      Your question about GOP Senators voting for this is key — why are they assuming responsibility for a bill that hits red states worst and increases premiums so much? Everything I’ve read does NOT assure Ryan kills it in committee, either. There’s too much pressure on him from White House and the few “creepy billionaires” as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called them this evening.

    • lefty665 says:

      Rayne’s right.  Schmer’s got the Dems in line, no defections. Considering the lack of backbone in that bunch that is an amazing piece of work.

      Schumer has also turned the Party which is equally amazing. The rollout Monday of the Dems new rallying cry takes them back to supporting working class America “A better deal: Better jobs, better pay, a better future”.  He’s got a huge job in ’18 just to stay even, defending 25 seats to the Repubs 9, but he’s got a good start on it. Last night’s success will bring some esprit with it.

      I have never liked the SOB worth a damn either, but my hat’s off to him.  He is turning into a leader. The Dems (and the country) are desperate for that.

    • lefty665 says:

      Turns out it wasn’t just Dems that Schumer was working on:

      “Wow Schumer says he’s been talking to McCain four to five times a day for three or four days

      — Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) July 28, 2017″

  3. Cold N. Holefield says:

    Either way, The Insurance Companies win and The Little People lose. Repealing means The Little People lose sooner, but either way The Little People lose.

    The majority of People don’t realize Obamacare was a Republican Plan and that’s why The Republicans have no suitable replacement. Obamacare was their Replacement and The Obama Administration & The Dems co-opted it and have used it against The Republicans.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Yes and no, it was loosely built on the idea of Romneycare with roots back to Nixon trying to prevent Medicare for all.  It went through many months of public hearings and the Ds accepted over 160 GOP amendments so unlike this BS skinny repeal it was not done in the dead of night as the GOP claims.

      The release at 10 PM EDT as the first time the rest of the Senate could see this dreck also highlights the hypocrisy of GOP congresscritters demanding a full day to examine any legislation, something they even tried to claim ACA didn’t do (it did).

      Going forward, every so-called GOP moderate that voted for this needs to be punished (Lindsey, Dean Heller, Portman, Capito who deserves extra scorn because last week she promised a disabled constituent she wouldn’t do this) as the soulless swine that they are.  They knew damn well that Ryan would (if this had passed) throw the Senate under the bus by passing it without any amendments in the House, which means no conference committee would be needed.  We know from Napoleorange’s tweets this AM that he wanted a signing party THIS WEEK.

    • Wm. Boyce says:

      That’s simply not true. Millions of people have health care insurance now that was impossible in the past, largely through subsidies and Medicaid expansion. The law needs change, preferably to single-payer, but at least to help middle class people who are above the poverty rate and getting hit hard with premium increases.

      The ACA is Mr. Obama’s lasting legacy.

      • Cold N. Holefield says:

        Really? It’s not true? Then Josh Earnest is a liar because they are his words I reiterated per his appearance a couple of weeks ago on one of the Cable News Networks. If you’re a Democratic Apparatchik, and it appears you are or you’re a Republican Apparatchik facetiously pretending be an ObamaBot, how are you all any different than the Trumpians if you can’t get your messages straight?

        Rugger9, I agree Universal Healthcare is the only reasonable & humane way forward, but not without significant a Structural & Philosophical Shift in the way America approaches & practices Healthcare. For example, Technology is far outpacing our ability to pay for it despite the Cornucopians who claim otherwise. Let’s take Premature Babies as illustration. Technology now allows us to save a child born Extremely Premature, meaning 1 &1/2 lbs. at birth, but not without severe complications that require that child to be kept alive with substantial & expensive medical monitoring & intervention. This illustration is just The Tip of the Iceberg. In a Universal System, we can’t sustain that. We have to draw lines, and yet NO ONE is prepared to do that let alone have a discussion about it. In this regard, we’re metaphorically liked Petulant Know-It-All Recalcitrant Adolescents who will not listen to Reason. Corporations and The Politicians they Own & Control CANNOT and MUST NOT have their Hands in this in ANY way for it to be successful.

        The Throw Grandma To The Curb Act

        • Rugger9 says:

          I agree on universal health care, it is the one thing that sets the USA apart from the rest of (almost literally) the world, certainly the G50.

          It’ll be a bitch to get there, AHIP is well funded and not going away without a fight even though they do absolutely nothing useful.  Shoveling money around and denying care (these are the true “death panels”) doesn’t count as “useful”.

        • Wm. Boyce says:

          It (ACA) has benefited millions of people such as yours truly (self-employed) I don’t know what your political ideology/predeliction is in saying it is all evil, but you are wrong, dead wrong.

        • P J Evans says:

          I got some expensive vaccines at minimal cost via ACA. One of them is one that Medicare should (but doesn’t!) cover.

          ACA isn’t perfect; it needs improvements. But it’s a helluva lot better than NO insurance, which is what the GOP-T wants for the 99%.

  4. Cold N. Holefield says:

    The Political Machinations are so absurdly complex it’s enough to make Machiavelli BLUSH. No, scratch that, it’s enough to make Machiavelli WINCE and wish he’d never written a word of what was in, and on, his mind.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The State, it’s ORANGE.

      Trump will continue the sabotage, and it’s probably 60-40 that the corporate press will not call it out for the hatchet work that it is.

      One wonders what the single payer state VT will be subjected to by Price’s minions, and especially if CA is able to solve the constitutional conundrum with respect to the education funding constraint to go single payer.  IMHO, ditching the bad for everyone Delta Tunnels (the Peripheral Canal but underground) would cover the expenses nicely but this is a thing Jerry has been fixated on for a long time (PC was his idea then).   As an observation, CA’s constitution was made in what was termed the “legislature of a thousand drinks” and since we have the ability to amend it using citizen initiatives (a response to the Southern Pacific that owned the Legislature at the time) we have over 200 amendments to the thing. Corporate interests have discovered this to be a cost-effective way to carve out exceptions for themselves.

    • Rayne says:

      I think you’d better go easy slinging that broad brush about millionaires. After a lifetime of hard work as a business owner, my father-in-law was a millionaire when he retired. He was in debt when his wife died 15 years later, after paying for her two hip replacements and her managed care facility over the last 3-4 years of her life. She died not long after ACA went into effect, but even today under ACA her health care would have eaten FIL’s savings. It’s a good thing he’s still in good health as he approaches 90, but whatever else he has left will be sucked up by his end care.

      A million bucks simply isn’t enough for retirement any more because of our health care system. Not even two million. It’s no surprise health care has been and remains a major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. And my in-laws could amass their savings because their sons’ college tuition was affordable. I’m paying more than 400% more than they did for each of my kids’ tuition today — a quarter million by the time I’m done, just so they don’t start adulthood with a lifetime of debt.

      • Cold N. Holefield says:

        No, I will not go easy. This is not a Time for Easy, if there ever was Time for it. From a Systemic Standpoint, if you’re a Millionaire, you took it from someone else’s Hide. In your Father-In-Law’s Case, The System took it right back out of his Hide.

        If your Father-In-Law had to do it all over again knowing the outcome of his Bargain with the Devil, perhaps he would have chosen another Path. Like I’ve done even though I’ve had Multiple Opportunities to be a Millionaire many times over. I hold everyone to the same Standard I apply to myself.

        • Rayne says:

          Look, you do NOT know what you’re talking about whatsoever. You clearly have zero idea what being a small business owner is like. It’s long hours — often 24 hours a day — going without things to make sure the rent is paid on the storefront, the vendors supplying products are paid, the wages and benefits are on time. Your family comes last. My spouse ~earned~ his tuition by working for the store for free; if he wasn’t in class or in sports, he was sweeping floors, delivering parts, rotating stock, dusting shelves. Ditto for the rest of his siblings. The million bucks came from scrimping and saving, like my mother-in-law sewing their drapes, darning socks, patching jeans, making their bread when she wasn’t doing the business’s bookkeeping. This is the way the middle class grew in this country, by hard work and thrift and careful spending. What my FIL was able to do is now difficult for many reasons; big chain stores make startup mom-and-pop stores impossible in much of the country, just for starters.

          Most people with a college degree in this country ~should~ be able to save at least a million for retirement; it’s what they’ll need to retire with a lifestyle somewhat less than they have before retirement and still pay for medical expenses. That you do not understand this displays your ignorance. That you don’t understand how badly the last 20 years have eaten away people’s ability to save this much because of stagnant wages and rising rents and health care costs combined with the 2008 crash further displays your ignorance.

          The only bargain with any devil my FIL made in his lifetime was loving and marrying a woman who got increasingly sick over the last 20 years of her life, and honoring his vow “in sickness and in health, until death do they part,” paying her $6-12,000/month nursing home care until she died. I suppose you have some faux Marxian scold about that, too.

          • Cold N. Holefield says:

            Do you want to come over to my place and have a REAL discussion about it? I won’t censor you or ban your comments and it will allow me to take the gloves off like you’re allowed to do here while keeping mine on. What do you say?

            I know that you would never accept that offer, but it’s always open in case you ever change your mind, which you won’t, of course, because your mind is closed for good.

            You have no idea what’s coming and you have no idea how you have, and still are, contributing to it.

            This will be my last comment here.

            When and if The People’s Party gets up and running and gets some Steam, you & your ilk will not be part of it. Instead, you will be amongst the Casualties, as it should be.

            • Rayne says:

              Good luck with that. In the mean time I suggest you widen and deepen your education because you’re clearly going to need it; bringing a knife to a gunfight has predictable outcomes.

              I’d like to say I worry about your personal retirement plan, but no, I don’t have time for that.

              ~Goes back to her ilk…~

            • P J Evans says:

              Ignorance on your part does not constitute education.

              We know what small businesses usually do: they stay small, or, frequently, they go under. Few owners of small businesses get rich. I know people who have tried that, and they lost their house and their marriage.

          • Rugger9 says:

            I’ll agree with Rayne on this one, on several counts.  First, a million doesn’t go as far as it did before.  Second, the F-I-L is the exception that proves the rule.  If one looks at the 0.1% class or even the top 1% it is a rare person indeed that didn’t step on someone as they went up.  The noe I had made earlier is from the last Gilded Age, when, unfortunately, this was all too true.

        • Gal Dagon says:

          XKCD is reportedly worth 89.5 mil. I suppose that makes Randall Munroe a creep who took that money out of someone’s hide, then.

  5. orionATL says:

    thank god this travesty of congressional policy making is over (for now). it was political malpractice of an extreme sort.

    now it’s on to president trump and his carefully chosen secretary of health and human services, tom price (life-long member of a medical association founded in the 1940’s, yes, ’40’s, to save the nation from government intervention in medicine (including malpractice laws and medical devices) – god save this great nation from commies and socialized medicine!).

    aided by vice-president pence’ s pal from indiana health care, dr. seema vera, whom trump appointed the administrator of cms, the center for medicaid and medicare services, under price.

    we have a great team in place, termites who’ve already been hard at work destroying obamacare administratively rather than congressionally – the sec of hhs, and the administrator of cms.

    democrats may have had a reason to be quiet while mcconnell and his asshole possee were sneaking around senatorial procedure, but they god-damned well better start screaming about what price and veera and trump are up to.

    and no more of this shit about dems keeping their heads down and keeping quiet because they’ve been scared by republican propaganda about obamacare!

    • harpie says:

      we have a great team in place, termites who’ve already been hard at work destroying obamacare administratively rather than congressionally – the sec of hhs, and the administrator of cms.

      Yes, see: Trump’s war of attrition against Obamacare [The administration can do plenty to undermine the law even if Republicans are unable to repeal it.] Politico; 7/21/17 

  6. harpie says:

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump  7h7 hours ago 

    3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch! [11:25 PM – 27 Jul 2017]

    Presidential Oath of Office:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

     
    U.S. Constitution: “He shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” 

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Schumer just gave hero John McCain a political blow job:  “No one speaks truth to power like John McCain.”  That may be Maverick McCain’s reputation; it is wholly unearned and more than mildly hypocritical.

    True, McCain voted no last night and earned praise for it.  His vote would not have been so crucial, he would not have been the center of attention, had he remained in AZ under treatment for an often terminal cancer.  He would have earned praise if he had taken the same position earlier and voted to keep the bill off the floor because it was not ready for consideration, it was not good policy, it did not have the votes to pass.

    Necessary politicking (and hyperbole) from Schumer aside, McCain’s behavior, like Scaramucci’s and Trump’s, is and has always been about McCain.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I forget which liberal website had it, but there was commentary that McCain set up all of this theater to stick the shiv into Napoleorange for the stuff DJT said during the campaign about McCain.  Air-dales don’t take insults well and hold grudges especially when they have suffered as much as McCain did in Vietnam.

  8. harpie says:

    Wow! Mazie Hirono [D-HI] also fighting cancer, also flew a long distance to vote “no” on this bill. Her floor speech before the vote.
    ***
    And, important to remember,

    John McCain’s moment was made possible because Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski refused, for months, to budge

    THEY PERSISTED!

  9. orionATL says:

    as for why mccain did what he did, i have my own viewpoint. mccain reveres and loves the american institution of the senate.

    on his first vote, procedural vote, he begged mcconnell for ” a return to regular order”, i. e., for the senate to include dems and to debate and pass bills normally.

    mcconnell spat in mccain’s face.
    on the critical vote mccain paid him back.

    that’ s my guess.

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