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TrumpCare and the Senate

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I have a piece in the LA Times that, inter alia, discusses the role the awful Senate draw in 2018 is playing in the politics of health care:

There is no recent precedent for anything like this closed process for such a major bill. Republicans and their allies in the media presented a caricatured version of the Affordable Care Act in which its passage was speedy, non-transparent and entirely partisan. But this was always a ludicrous inversion of the truth; the ACA’s negotiations happened mostly in the open, took forever and continued to involve Republicans long after it was clear they wouldn’t support any reform whatsoever.

When then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made her often-distorted statement that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of the controversy,” the bill had been public for three months. The public will be lucky to examine the handiwork of an all-male group of Republican senators for three days before they try to ram it through. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is running roughshod over basic democratic norms.

The truly terrifying thing is that his tactics might work. “The Affordable Care Act,” concludes Vox healthcare policy expert Sarah Kliff, “is in deep trouble.” And this isn’t because the Senate is likely to pass anything much different than the extraordinarily unpopular House bill. (Remember: If they thought the public wouldn’t hate their version, they wouldn’t be hiding it.) The pathetic faction of Senate Republicans who are inaccurately described as “moderates” are making it clear that they will cave in to the reactionary extremists who dominate the Republican conference, while getting virtually nothing in return. Probably the only concession they will win is to phase in devastating cuts to Medicaid over a slightly longer period than House Republicans proposed.

Of course the public eventually will see this horrible bill — just before it becomes law — and the public’s second taste of Trumpcare will be just as bitter. But McConnell’s gamble is that ramming through an unvetted overhaul of the healthcare system to inflict immense suffering on the poor while helping the rich won’t endanger the GOP’s Senate majority — at least not in the short term — and is therefore worthwhile.

The fact is that the 2018 Senate map is extraordinarily favorable to the Republican Party. Democrats hold 23 of the 33 seats up for election. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won his seat in 2012 by 16 points, and yet this might be the best chance Democrats have to flip one of the three seats they would need to regain control of the Senate.

If Republicans were defending, say, 20 seats instead of 10, McConnell wouldn’t try to pass a horribly unpopular bill. He’d worry that doing so would lead to Democratic control of the Senate, and thus deprive him of his ability to rubber-stamp Trump’s judicial and executive branch appointments. In this alternative scenario, he would have made the bill go away quickly by forcing a losing vote.

But as things stand, McConnell knows that even a political wave that knocks Republicans out of control of the House probably wouldn’t cost them the Senate. And he knows that even if 2020 is an utter bloodbath for his party, he’ll have already secured control of the Supreme Court for generations to come.

I overstated a little there; it’s possible that McConnell would be ramming some godawful health care bill through irrespective of the political context. But I doubt it. Not only does McConnell care more about maintaining power than any particular policy outcome, he pretty clearly cares more about judges than health care. Whatever he is, he’s not dumb; he knows this is a political catastrophe and he’s acting like it. I think the ACA would be pretty safe for now if Democrats didn’t need a black swan event to take over the Senate. But as it stands, I don’t think it’s looking good at all.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: I missed the change when going over the final version, but I initially wrote that Cruz was the best chance to get the third seat, not “one of the three” seats. Obviously, Heller and Flake are more likely to lose — my point is that Democrats need a third seat to flip the Senate even assuming they hold everything, and it’s tough to see where it’s coming from.

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  • I think McConnell has a feeling that the Republicans are going to lose big in 2018, and is merely trying to lock in as much of their agenda as possible before going back to whining about how the Republican minority is being trampled on when he returns to being the Senate minority leader.

    • Brett

      Either that, or he’s more afraid of the consequences of failing to gut Obamacare. Maybe the Americans for Prosperity Crowd has told him it will be Primaries Ahoy for Republicans if they fail to pass something.

      • Which would only make the Republican rout worse in 2018, me thinks.

      • efgoldman

        Maybe the Americans for Prosperity Crowd has told him it will be Primaries Ahoy for Republicans

        He’s up in 2020, which should be a disaster for the RWNJs(*) (“should be” always subject to modification). He’ll be 78, he’s been in DC an awfully long time. Maybe he’s decided that hanging on thru public deterioration, like Grandpa Walnuts, isn’t something he wants to do.

        (*)I don’t think he’s personally in any danger of losing if he decides to stay on.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I think McConnell has a feeling that the Republicans are going to lose big in 2018

      I’m pretty confident that McConnell doesn’t think Republicans are losing the Senate in 2018.

      • That may be so, but he’s hedging his bet, too. Strike while the iron is hot, and all that.

  • liberal

    But if they pass this, then they “own” healthcare, right? If their only goal was to get rid of the ACA, I would have thought the right way to do it would be to slowly strangle it.

    I haven’t followed this stuff enough to really know, but I would have thought the urgency behind the tactic is so they can get tax cuts for the rich and avoid the filibuster (but could be entirely wrong about that).

    • humanoid.panda

      I think the major issue is that they feel that they have to vote on something they can call Obamacare repeal, and would have been glad to do a symbolic, cosmetic change, but can’t get away with this due to their ideological commissars.

      • liberal

        Yeah, could be.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The tax cut issue is no longer relevant. The revenue-neutral tax plan Ryan wanted is dead anyway.

  • twbb

    It seems pretty clear that if they kill it in 2017 or 2018 the Democrats will just come up with an alternative in 2020, maybe a dramatic expansion of medicare/medicaid, which honestly might be better anyway.

    Maybe McConnell’s just thinking hey, no matter how badly we screw up America the Democrats always let us get back up.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Factio republicana delenda est.

      • twbb

        Or as the Democrats like to say, “Praeterita perdita lunt et magis cladem inhumanati.”

    • altofront

      I wouldn’t be quite so sanguine about the Democrats holding the reins of power in 2020. It’s looking good these days, but there’s lots of sand left in the timer.

  • Denverite

    I said it yesterday, but the real hope here has to be that McConnell is forced to delay most of the horrible stuff past 2020 so that a Democratic president and majority can reverse it before it kicks in.

    • twbb

      Get a Democratic president and a veto-proof Congress and they can still reverse it after 2020. Hell, if the Republicans mess up enough maybe we can get single payer.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        If you have a Democratic president, why would you need a veto-proof Congress?

        • twbb

          Typo, meant filibuster-proof Congress (well, Senate).

          • chrisM

            Undoing whatever the GOP does today requires just a majority of both houses in congress, filibuster-proof majority unnecessary. That’s the nature of the approach the GOP is pursuing: live by 51 votes, die by 51 votes.

            Now, to expand might be more complex, but to simply undo this just requires 51.

            • twbb

              I don’t think so; bringing it back would under current rules couldn’t be done through the reconciliation process.

              • Scott Lemieux

                And the stupid Medicaid ruling will be a major pain in the ass when it comes to restoring the expansion. I hope the Dems will have the votes to federalize the program (which may run into its own problems if Trump’s third nominee is the median vote.)

              • humanoid.panda

                “I don’t think so; bringing it back would under current rules couldn’t be done through the reconciliation process.”

                Why not? As long as you raise taxes enough to balance the spending, there should be no problem to do a mirror image bill.

              • alexceres

                There’s no reason for dems to honor the filibuster or reconciliation after 4 years for republicans destroying every legislative and political norm they can find.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  This. Also things like statehood for DC and PR need to be on the agenda from day 1. Enough of playing nerf ball while the enemies of democracy are throwing at our heads at 95 mph.

              • efgoldman

                bringing it back would under current rules couldn’t be done

                Rules? Rules? RULES??!?!?

                What fucking “RULES”?

                • twbb

                  Seriously? You think we’re living in a rules-less society?

                  Why is McConnell operating under the reconciliation rule now, if there are no more rules?

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    You’ve understated how horrible 2018 is for Dems in the Senate. In addition to the 23 Democratic Senators up for reelection, both the Senate’s Democratic-leaning independents — Bernie Sanders and Angus King — are up. There are only eight, not ten, Republican seats at play.

    • humanoid.panda

      Yeah, I strongly doubt that either King or Sanders are in any particular danger..

      • lizzie

        I think the point is that there are only eight Republican seats in play, not that Sanders or King are in any danger.

  • rewenzo

    Thanks again, genius founders, for staggering elections to the Senate.

    • farin

      Democratic accountability is terrifying! It might make us end slavery!

    • randy khan

      Staggered elections do limit the impact of a single election, which can be both good and bad. If all 100 seats had been up in 2010, it’s not hard to think the Dems would have lost control of the Senate as well as the House.

      • rewenzo

        Yeah, I’m fine with losing an election and control of a legislature if you’re unpopular and the other side gets more votes than you.

        The only caveat here is that even if the Senate was elected all at once I would still hate it because it’s an undemocratic institution in the first place.

      • humanoid.panda

        Right. Staggered elections might be bad, but having an election to both houses of parliament every two years would catastrophic.

        • rewenzo

          Why is electing both houses of parliament at the same time worse than having only one house of parliament?

          • ASV

            It’s the “every two years” part that’s a problem.

            • rewenzo

              Ah. Yeah every 2 years is too frequent.

              • humanoid.panda

                If it were up to me, we’d have national elections for House, Senate, President every 4 years, with all local elections taking place two years after that.

          • sigaba

            Having two houses elected at the same time, from the same constituencies, but requiring them to both consent to bills just adds superfluous veto points that institutional actors (read: majority leaders) can use to extract concessions and only make the process more obscure.

            I would add that senators never had to worry about elections when staggered elections were adopted, it was a mechanism to make the senate more chummy and insular, and make senators more accountable to each other than to their consituencies. This manifests in the obscurity and rules of the senate, the “holds” and filibusters, the adherence to unanimous consent, and various other gandydancing that spares them from doing what people want, and gives them numerous ready excuses when they can’t seem to deliver on what they promised.

            That it supposedly would stymie the party systems of the 1790s (read: anti-slavery and manumission movements) was a bonus.

            • rewenzo

              But having them elected at different times doesn’t make them less superfluous or less likely to extract concessions. It just makes them less democratically accountable.

            • efgoldman

              senators never had to worry about elections when staggered elections were adopted, it was a mechanism to make the senate more chummy and insular

              And senators were effectively appointed by their state legislatures, not elected by the (white, male, property owning) voters. An insurgent who never held office before didn’t happen.

  • randy khan

    Without underplaying how difficult a year this is for the Dems, the next two elections are nearly as bad for the Republicans – they hold 22 out of 33 seats up in 2020 and 22 of 34 seats up in 2022.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Yes, I was going to point out that while Democrats likely won’t gain control of the Senate in 2018, they have a strong likelihood of getting a filibuster-proof majority in 2020.

      • altofront

        I don’t see any way we get to 60 seats in 2020, let alone a “strong likelihood.” Even if we get to 50 seats in 2018 (a long shot, most likely), what’s competitive in 2020? Colorado, North Carolina, Maine if Collins retires, maybe Iowa, and then at a big stretch Montana, Alaska, and Georgia. That’s just 7, and we would never get all that. Really, it’s far from clear to me that we have more than a 50% chance of regaining a bare majority in 2020.

        It is true, though, that we have very few vulnerable seats in 2020. And 2022 has some real possibilities for gaining ground (though probably not as far as 60).

        ETA: I see mds already said all the same stuff but with more detail.

        • mds

          Well, you added North Carolina as being “in play” in 2020, so there’s that. :-)

          (Personally, I’ll believe NC when I see it. Just as in AZ, the inevitable blue wave hardly ever seems to actually materialize.)

          • humanoid.panda

            Dems won a seat in North Carolina in 2008 and barely lost there this year with a not too strong nominee, so it is definitely in play.

    • mds

      Yeah, but which seats matters. In 2018, the problem is that (1) many of the Democratic seats are in red states, and (2) only one Republican seat is in an already-bluish state (NV). Sure, Republicans are defending 22 seats in 2020. Look at the map. There’s Colorado, Maine, and Iowa, plus a lot of red Confederate and Great Plains states. Colorado should be doable, Maine depends on whether Collins runs and whether she finally gets nailed for her horseshit “moderate” act, and I would have to wait on 2018 House elections to determine if Iowa is outright slipping away from Democrats or not.

      I mean, assuming we only have to get to 50 (’cause if the VP isn’t a Democrat in 2021, the republic is well and truly fucked), it’s certainly possible, but it would require some really great outcomes next year. IN and MO in particular are going to be tough. And there’s basically no margin for error: 2014 was brutal, and 2016 needed to go better in all kinds of ways that included the Senate. Let us all once again thank the Founders in their infinite wisdom for granting so much electoral power to vast swathes of empty space.

  • Domino

    Obviously a good chuck of GOP representatives are true believers, but do you think the so-called “moderates” have a conscience, and are okay with killing off tens of thousands so the rich can have a tax cut?

    I know, this is pure speculation, but I wonder if it ever occurs to Susan Collins the murder and pain and suffering she is going to inflict on tens of millions, for the sole purpose of letting billionaires have more money. Hell, I even wonder if John Cornyn has those thoughts.

    It’s just evil. That’s the best word for it. Evil.

    • CP

      Obviously a good chuck of GOP representatives are true believers, but do you think the so-called “moderates” have a conscience, and are okay with killing off tens of thousands so the rich can have a tax cut?

      Or “moderates” are just cautious by nature, with a more restrained idea of what they can get away with, who need the radicals to show them the way before they willingly follow.

      • Chetsky

        Collins is no “moderate”. She’s just a better *salesman* than shitbirds like Cornyn, Inhofe, et al.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Collins is running for governor in a state where thrice-vetoed Medicaid expansion was placed on the November ballot by initiative petition.

          The people she needs to win in November have already spoken.

          • humanoid.panda

            Can you decipher that?

    • ASV

      Trick question; they aren’t ideologically moderate. They are able to feign empathy and communicate without screaming, or in the case of one individual, they pushed back a bit against George W. Bush in a multi-year fit of pique.

    • efgoldman

      I wonder if it ever occurs to Susan Collins the murder and pain and suffering she is going to inflict on tens of millions

      Or closer to home, just the tens of thousands of HER CONSTITUENTS in Maine who are living in a colder version of WWC-land, with all the poverty, unemployment, and drug use.

  • humanoid.panda

    The problem with the map argument is that, if reports are to believed, the impact of the bill won’t hit until 2020. My guess is that McConnell just wants a win now, no matter the cost later.

    • junker

      The main effects of Obamacare didn’t hit until after 2010 but the Democrats were still hit by negative coverage for it.

      • lunaticllama

        I think gaming the timing of the actual effects of these bills won’t affect coverage of it. If most sources say it’s going to cause millions to lose health insurance and include drastic cuts to Medicaid, this will not be a losing issue for the Republicans.

      • DAS

        The negative coverage resonated because people were uncertain about how much money they would be expected to spend under the ACA and what kind of care they’d get. If people knew how the ACA would actually effect them, they may have thought differently about it in 2010.

    • DAS

      If the impact hits in Dec 2020 and the Democrats win in Nov, then the Democrats get blamed for the AHCA.

      • twbb

        Not even the Democrats are bad enough at messaging for that to happen. Especially since the President takes office in 2021.

      • Domino

        No, they don’t.

        The party that passed the legislation will.

        Christ the “sky is falling” crowd get annoying quickly.

    • Scott Lemieux

      the impact of the bill won’t hit until 2020.

      As other commenters have noted, this doesn’t matter. It’s a massively unpopular bill.

    • JKTH

      For some things, yes, but most of the loss of coverage happens right away.

  • djw

    Not that it takes away from your larger point, but surely Heller and Flake are at least, if not more, vulnerable? The states are trending D, Heller barely won against an ethically challenged opponent in 2012, Flake barely won against a pretty good but underfunded challenger, and both have approval ratings in the low 40’s, a full 15 points behind Cruz. On the other hand The Democratic bench may well have more to offer in Texas.

    • Murc

      Heller has to be our number one target. He’s staggeringly vulnerable and Nevada has been trending heavily purple in recent years. We should invest resources into it and attempt to nationalize it; the seat of political power in Nevada has always been Clark County but demographic and population shifts have been making that more and more true lately, and they fuckin’ LOATHE Trump down there. And the Vegas unions have some sharp political organizing skills.

      • The cooks and strippers are the vanguard of the revolution!

    • randy khan

      Yeah, it seems strange to put Cruz ahead of them.

      • altofront

        I assume Scott meant as the third seat, not as one of the three seats.

    • Thrax

      Agreed. The question is where the third pickup, the one needed to flip the Senate, would come from. Cruz’s seat, unfortunately, is the most likely–absent a retirement elsewhere–and while a decent challenger (not clear who that would be from a state Dem party is moribund as the one in Texas) and anti-Trump sentiment may make it closer than it would otherwise be, it’ll still be a heavy lift. (And this assumes that the Dems don’t lose *any* seats, including seats in MT, MO, IN, ND, and WV.)

      Flipping the Senate is a big deal for purposes of judicial appointments in 2019-20, but it will be very tough to pull off.

      • tribble

        Well, with 52 votes currently, the Republicans have just enough margin to allow a few “moderates” like Collins defect for cover. If the Democrats peel off two seats in 2018 that cover goes away. Even decreasing the margin to one would change the political calculus, I think.

        I realize that Susan Collins no longer getting to have it both ways is a small consolation for not having an outright Democratic majority, but it would be fun to see her pinned down. I’d take it.

      • djw

        The question is where the third pickup, the one needed to flip the Senate, would come from.

        I don’t share your optimism that we won’t lose a few seats as well.

    • JKTH

      It’s a shame that none of the Alaska Senators are up in 2018. The state stands to be totally screwed by whatever comes out of Congress.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I missed this, but (dammit) it was changed in the editing. Cruz is the best chance to get the third seat. I’m assuming Heller and Flake are in trouble.

    • mds

      Flake barely won against a pretty good but underfunded challenge

      More specifically, Flake barely won by three percentage points against a Latino ex-SWAT Special Forces Vietnam veteran with strong bipartisan cred. While running as the chinless intellectually-bankrupt schmibertarian shitweasel he is. I’m sure Bruce Babbitt is planning to come out of retirement to take him on as we speak.

      • LF

        I’d love to see Carmona try again. And in addition to his other achievements that you list, he’s also a former Surgeon General!

        Unfortunately he’ll be almost 70 by the next election…

  • Joe_JP

    I don’t recall personally seeing “black swan” until this past election. Now, it’s a thing. Also, we need that clip from Die Hard about them needing a miracle to break into the vault.

    Trump, Russia etc. is the best bet there. Keep up the pressure. And, hope for something from Mueller.

    • Its a big thing in project management. Basically an unpredictable event that has the potential to derail a project.

      • Joe_JP

        sure … others probably saw it more than I & maybe I did at some point, but now I’m seeing it from both sides.

        ETA: It’s nice Scott is honoring flag day. Oh wait. It’s not the traitorous flag we honor today.

    • wjts

      It’s definitely become more common recently, but it’s been around for a while: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_(Taleb_book)

    • Rob in CT

      “You ask for miracles, Theo. I give you the F. B. I.”

      Sigh.

      • Joe_JP

        Ha. How apt.

        And, then John McClane dealt with computers (IV) and went to Russia. By then, it just was too stupid, much like these days.

        • CP

          I actually didn’t hate IV, though it definitely gets the whole point of John McClane wrong – he’s supposed to be a relatable and human action hero, to contrast with the musclebound superheroes Stallone and Schwarzenegger usually played. He’s supposed to be a guy who can spend half a movie in intense pain from having had to step over broken glass – not a guy who can jump from an exploding F-35 onto a collapsing highway without breaking a sweat. But it still managed to be fun. The next one was just shit.

          Also, just to express a very controversial opinion, because we just don’t get enough of these around here: I actually like Die Hard With A Vengeance a little better than the original.

          • Joe_JP

            I thought the fourth one was just too stupid plot-wise but it still retained a bit of humanity for the main character. Never saw the fifth one — just looks like a overprocessed cartoon. As to three v. one, I did enjoy three; each had things going for them. Two was okay.

            • CP

              You didn’t miss anything. Two was the weakest of the original trilogy, but seeing Agent Sloane and Chief O’Brien was fun.

              A small thing I miss from the early movies is the tradition of taking a different piece of classical or military music (i.e. not pop) and make it the movie’s soundtrack. “Ode To Joy,” “Finlandia,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” The last two movies do away with that entirely.

  • In my senators, I have two solid “no” votes (Klobuchar & Franken). So what is the best use of my time to fight this bill?

    • randy khan

      Target some Republicans. It’s not that easy for them to tell where you live if you call after business hours and leave a message. Also, use social media.

      • humanoid.panda

        No, no, no. Activist organizations STRONGLY discourage people from pretending to be constituents- because if that becomes a thing, congressmen stop listening to consituents.

        If you happen to have Democratic senators or congressmen, donate money, or join up with an organization devoted to issues you care about, or figure out where you can help someone challenging a local republican.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      Organizing For Action is doing phonebanking to neighboring states with targeted Senators. Asked a friend if they have anything like that in MN (I’m in CA), will post it when they respond.

    • nadirehsa

      I’m an organizer for Indivisible and MoveOn in NJ, so we have the same situation. Two things to do: call your Senators and tell them you want them to withhold unanimous consent. No votes aren’t enough here; they need to go further than that.

      After that, reach out to friends and families in the Trumpcare 10. Those are states with potentially flippable Senators. Ask your friends/family to call and pressure their MoC to vote No.

      They’re long shots and things look bleak, but those are two ways to at least go down swinging.

    • Thanks, all!

    • TopsyJane

      “In my senators, I have two solid “no” votes (Klobuchar & Franken). So what is the best use of my time to fight this bill?”

      Remind them that voting no isn’t enough and you expect active resistance.

  • Michael Masinter

    Several posts assume that, following the 2020 elections, democrats can undo the repeal. I question the basis for that assumption. There’s no obvious reason to assume that democrats can sweep the presidency, the house and the senate in 2020. Yes, there’s a favorable senate map in 2020, but only after an awful map in 2018. But taking the house and keeping the house given the extent of gerrymandering and the well documented tendency of voters to cluster ideologically will be extremely difficult. As for the presidency, three years is a lifetime; nobody knows who will run, or even who will be alive, but the one certainty is that republicans will have unlimited money to back their candidates, whether at the local, state or national level. And unless democrats can make big gains in the state legislatures and governorships during the 2020 cycle, they’ll be redistricted into ten more years as the house minority. And there’s the matter of raising taxes sufficiently to pay for real national health insurance. Finally, there is SCOTUS; its dicta forbidding the exercise of commerce clause power to compel the purchase of insurance remains in place, and the Roberts majority for tax penalties will likely be a minority by then, making any form of national health insurance other than a medicare for all model unconstitutional in the unlikely event it makes its way into law.

    In short, far too much has to happen to gamble on restoring health insurance in the post 2020 world; the assumption that it will seems to me akin to betting on a single number (say 20) on the casino’s roulette wheel — you may win, and if you do the payoff will be great, but the odds against winning are overwhelming.

    Beating back the almost drafted bill is going to be difficult, but it still looks likes the best hope. Telephone calls (not emails) are still effective ways of putting pressure on individual representatives and, to a lesser extent senators, so even if McConnell rams a bill through the senate, the house still has to vote and it barely mustered a majority earlier. I’d focus every effort on the present, not hopes for the future.

    • randy khan

      I don’t know if acting now is the best hope, but relying on future elections to fix problems when you can take steps now to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place does not seem like the optimal approach. So I agree that it’s important to put pressure on the Senate now, and to push them hard.

    • twbb

      All we’re dealing with are probabilities. Nobody here is disputing that. We’re trying to figure out possible things that could happen in 2020 if the GOP repeals ACA.

      Just because we’re discussing it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly giving up on stopping the current bill. Discussing something on LGM doesn’t mean we’re expending “effort” that we could otherwise use now.

      • Michael Masinter

        I never meant to suggest that discussions represent giving up; after all I am participating too. I just thought it worth making clear that the fight to save PPACA is not over yet, and that what efforts we can make now matter.

    • malraux

      It also drags Democrats into a tough fight. A big lesson of ACA is that people are very willing to preserve whatever they currently have wrt health care, even if what you are offering is much better, what they currently have is awful, etc.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    “But McConnell’s gamble is that ramming through an unvetted overhaul of the healthcare system to inflict immense suffering on the poor while helping the rich won’t endanger the GOP’s Senate majority — at least not in the short term — and is therefore worthwhile.”

    Just like ripping off a tourniquet.

    • twbb

      Not ramming through an unvetted overhaul of the healthcare system actually would hurt the current GOP Senators because they’d be primaried from the insane tea party right. Hopefully.

  • Mike in DC

    Sanctions against Russia pass the Senate by a 97-2 vote. Fate in House uncertain, WH already quietly pushing to undermine it.

    • twbb

      We’ll see. Not thrilled with the Iran sanctions, though, and I wish both the Republicans and Democrats would stop seeing Iran as a unified country that should be punished as a whole and start seeing it as it is, a collection of three different governments jockeying for power.

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