healthcare

Hey, Senators! Show Us the Damn Health Care Bill

Boston, MA, USA-January 15, 2017. Protester with sign on her back at” Our First Stand: Save Healthcare Rally” where Elizabeth Warren spoke to audience in front of Fanueil Hall.

We still don’t know what’s in the super-secret, super-ominous GOP healthcare repeal bill that’s being hurried through the senate.

And some Democratic senators are so mad (as well as being spurred by constituent phone calls) that they’re finally trying to slow the process down in order to shine a light on the goings-on.

“Without the votes to block Obamacare repeal, Democrats are turning to procedural moves they believe will underscore their most powerful argument: Republicans are hiding their repeal plan from the public and using Senate procedures to keep it a secret.

Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “These are merely the first steps we’re prepared to take in order to shine a light on this shameful Trumpcare bill and reveal to the public the GOP’s true intentions: to give the uber-wealthy a tax break while making middle class Americans pay more for less health care coverage. If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate.”

This is an important step for Dems to take, because the dramatic confrontation will force the media to cover the bill.  There’s been something of a conundrum with coverage, since without any public hearings or public anything, there’s  not a “hook” for reporters. Instead, newspapers have covered the secrecy itself. Take this piece from the LA Times:

“The GOP’s secretive process marks a sharp departure from the traditional way the Senate has developed large, complex bills, which are often debated for years with multiple committee hearings to ensure broad input and careful analysis.

The closed-door approach, which is even more opaque than the process used earlier this year in the House, is all the more remarkable given the bill’s likely impact on tens of millions of Americans, many of whom could see their health insurance protections substantially scaled back or eliminated altogether.

“It is deeply disturbing,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the American Lung Assn. “Patients groups like ours need to make sure that our patients’ needs for healthcare will be met. … We can’t do that if we can’t see what is being proposed.”

What we do know about the bill is bad, bad bad. In particular, the House version cuts back Medicaid Block Grants, which has a severe impact on pregnant people and vulnerable children, from prematurely-born babies to kids with special needs.

But we can’t fully understand something we can’t see. That’s why so many are demanding: #ShowUstheBill.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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