By Marc Cooper (May 5, 2017)
Time for a little mansplainin’….As I have been saying all along, the Senate will NOT pass anything near the House version of Trumpcare. Never. Indeed, many of the House members who voted yes today also severely disliked the bill.
The reason behind the House approval was simply to “move” the health care bill, any health care bill. First of all, to get it the hell out of the House. And, second, to allow the Senate to act. And many House members knew very well that they were approving a text that would never become law…which is one reason that some of these turds did not even bother to read the revised draft. They know it is fiction and YOU should also know that.
It’s now quite possible the Senate will act. But it will take months. And as it is now clear, the Senate bill will start from scratch and while I have no trust whatsoever in the GOP senators, I am sure they are evil but not insane.
They can do the same political math as you or I can. And when the CBO scoring comes in next week, revealing that MORE than 24 million people would lose their health care, and a huge deficit will be created the House version will become radioactive. There are also a number of Republican senators who absolutely oppose the slashing of medicare as the current program saves their respective states a lot of dough.
So here is what is going to happen:
1) There will be a massive negative reaction to the CBO scoring next week. Something the Senate will not ignore. Especially if the American people mobilize to underscore that affordable and comprehensive health care is a right, not a privilege.
2) Sometime down the road, probably in late summer, the Senate will come up with its own health care plan that, no doubt, will be noxious but will have very little resemblance to the House version.
3) If, and I repeat, IF the GOP can get 50 votes out of its 52 member conference, this Senate Trumpcare version will pass. Then the bill will go to a joint House/Senate conference committee that will have to compromise and agree on one version.
4) But we have two contending forces: the extreme conservatives in the House and Freedom Caucus and the relatively more rational cluster of so-called “moderate” Senators. One side or another is gonna be quite unhappy with the sausage that is produced….if indeed it gets that far.
5) If the congressional conference committee comes up with that hot dog, then it must go back to the House to be approved…. a big unknown given the intransigence of the Freedom Caucus and Little Bitch Paul Ryan.
6) If THAT hurdle is cleared then it goes back to the Senate and must again be approved. Then it becomes law when Trump signs it.
7) That’s a lot of friggin’ hurdles and this is not a high priority on the Repub agenda.
8) It’s impossible to guess what, if anything, the Senate will come up with. But what you can count on is that it will NOT approve a repeal and replacement that contains the worst of what the House did today. I am not pollyannish about the Senate Republicans but they are not going to jump off a radical plank like the House did today.
9) So let’s keep this in perspective and not go nuts.
10) Which brings me to my final point: As crazy as the House Republicans might be, the Democrats are outright pathetic. This notion that they or anybody else is “the resistance” is complete bullshit. And it is an insult to the memory of the real Resistance made up of people who risked life and limb to combat armed Nazi-Fascism. Don’t flatter yourself… wearing a safety pin or holding a placard is a long long way from taking up arms in the anti-Nazi Resistance.
What we need now is not a faux “resistance” but rather a pro-active “alternative.” If there was ever an historic moment to begin putting single payer on the table it is right now. And the Democrats don’t dare support that (or any other real “fixes” to what are the real insufficiencies of Obamacare). Singing bye bye today in the House was a juvenile, feckless act that does nothing to really confront the Republicans.
We now have several months of time to mobilize and bring pressure to bear on the Senate in a targeted and strategic manner that hopefully proposes some real alternatives. Depending on the Republicans to defeat themselves is not enough (no matter how good a job of self destruction the GOP has been conducting).
So eyes on the ball… this is a crucial juncture that will depend exclusively on the ability of civil society to defeat Trumpcare in the Senate. Neither the Democrats nor exaggerated fears will be of much help.
Time to fight.
Marc Cooper is a past contributing Editor to The Nation Magazine.