Subscribe via RSS Feed

A Horrible Bill Delayed

[ 117 ] July 16, 2017 |

Mitch McConnell won’t be able to hold a vote on his bill to take health insurance away from tens of millions of people to pay for present and future tax cuts next week because John McCain is a principled maverick sick.

The 35% cut to Medicaid is, of course, in itself sufficient to make the bill not merely not worth voting for but monstrous. But we should remember that everything about the bill is terrible:

The measure kills the birth control and women’s health screening requirements. The Affordable Care Act advanced women’s healthcare rights immensely by mandating that health plans cover contraceptives, as well as a range of preventive screenings, without deductibles or co-pays. Conservatives have been trying to roll back those guarantees since the ACA’s enactment. The new Senate bill eliminates them.

That action is part of the Cruz Amendment, on which more below. It allows states to authorize the sale of health plans that don’t include the women’s health provisions. Observes Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood, “Insurance companies would once again be allowed to refuse to cover basic preventive healthcare, as well as charge women co-pays for birth control, immunizations and cancer screenings.” She calls this “a major step backward for women.”

[…]

That action is part of the Cruz Amendment, on which more below. It allows states to authorize the sale of health plans that don’t include the women’s health provisions. Observes Dawn Laguens of Planned Parenthood, “Insurance companies would once again be allowed to refuse to cover basic preventive healthcare, as well as charge women co-pays for birth control, immunizations and cancer screenings.” She calls this “a major step backward for women.”

There’s more where this came from, and another week to disseminate this information as widely as possible.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • I’m glad Senator John McCain has health insurance to cover his surgery. The vote is delayed because of McCain’s surgery and he needs to recover so that he can vote for a bill to strip health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

    • DAS

      The Democrats need to point this out. Although … the GOoPs will respond “McCain is an American hero who works hard and earns his health insurance … unlike ‘those people'(TM)”.

      • cpinva

        the only reason Sen. McCain is a “hero”, is because he disobeyed a direct order, and got himself shot down as a result. it’s funny how that so rarely gets mentioned, along with all the other scuzzy things he’s been involved in, since he returned from the war.

        • Warren Terra

          McCain was a terrible sailor, who only got his commission (not to mention to keep his flight status) because of his admiral daddy. He’s been a terrible and inconceivably misrepresented and overrated Senator.

          But: he was apparently genuinely heroic as a POW, enduring torture rather than support enemy propaganda and insisting on remaining in captivity until those held longer than him had been released.

          • Maggielle

            Thanks. I can’t stand McCain, but you said what I wanted to say (only better than I would have).

          • JMP

            Look, McCain occasionally criticizes the GOP party line and talks about maybe breaking from them, so even though he has never ever actually voted in any way other than lockstep party loyalty, that makes him a maverick with integrity.

            • Erik Loomis

              He needs his eye to be healthy for the right furrowed brow of concern as he votes to strip 20 million people of health care.

            • twbb

              He cast the deciding vote against repealing the methane rule this year.

          • N__B

            IOW, his best act as a person has been to keep his mouth shut.

          • TopsyJane

            He has also spoken out against torture, to his credit.

            I did take pleasure seeing Trump take the piss out of McCain during the primary campaign. Remember his little stroll through a Baghdad market in a bulletproof vest to show how safe it was?

            • Warren Terra

              He has also spoken out against torture, to his credit.

              I’m sorry, no. This is a vile lie frequently made in defense of McCain, one I will simply not abide. His record on torture is in fact profoundly evil and self-serving, a fact that has been obscured by an institutional media in this country always desperate to find and praise to the heavens any sign – however false – of moderation within the GOP.

              Yes, McCain was horribly tortured as a POW, and heroic in the face of torture. Yes, he made noble-sounding statements against torture, for the media’s benefit, after the revelations from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, to the sounds of wild applause from the media and from right-thinking Americans appalled by torture. But then comes the prospect of Congressional action to block torture …

              McCain, lauded by the media as the face of Congressional opposition to torture, managed to place himself at the head of opposition in the Senate to the US torturing its prisoners, leading a bloc of Senators and acting as their voice and symbol. Then he went into a meeting room at the White House and struck a deal that, in essence, meant torture could continue. Because the media had made him the arbiter of Stopping Torture, he had (and used!) complete power to torpedo opposition to torture in the Senate.

              And then he went on to get the Republican Presidential Nomination, almost as if he’d struck a deal in the White House to get institutional support and assistance, in return for removing a major public humiliation.

              As I said: self-serving and evil.

              • Ithaqua

                I did not know this… and this was the one thing I had, mistakenly, thought was a principled stance on McCain’s part.

              • TopsyJane

                http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/In-Philly-McCain-slams-Trumps-support-for-torturing-prisoners.html

                “When he brings up this issue of torture again, I have to speak up —
                I have to speak up, I have to — I have no choice on that,” McCain
                said, later adding, “Because of legislation, because of my own personal
                experience, because of everything that I’ve seen.”

                McCain said that prominent generals and senior military officials “will tell you: It. Does. Not. Work.”

                • Warren Terra

                  What’s your point? Sure, he said good things against torture. He likes saying good things, and particularly likes getting recognition for saying good things. But he also likes power, and securing his position within the Republican party, and an easy life – and he likes those things more.

                  So when it came time to act, he took his established role as the Senate’s leading voice against torture, he became the leader and spokesman of a critical bloc of Senators opposed to torture – and then he sold out that bloc’s principles in a backroom deal for his personal advantage.

        • I like heroes that don’t capitulate to evil human/turtle hybrids

        • DAS

          A certain strain of Republican liked to dismiss Cleland’s injuries as being self-inflicted. How much of that was projecting critiques of McCain onto Cleland?

        • TJ

          Was there one particular incident that caused people to start calling victims “heroes”, or did it happen gradually over time?

      • JMP

        An American hero? I prefer soldiers who don’t get captured.

        • Plagiarized from a joke in Chris Rock’s Kill the Messenger.

        • NeonTrotsky

          I like how Trump basically said this during the campaign and Republicans just shrugged. Imagine in Clinton had attacked McCain on these grounds, we’d probably still be reading about it every morning in the paper.

  • aab84

    Oh the irony if the bill doesn’t pass because a man with great health insurance got sick. CBO score could cause a stampede now that there’s an extra week for the media to talk about it.

    • DAS

      This assumes that the media continues to (uncharacteristically) care about more than just the deficit and also that the media will continue to fixate on the CBO score and not the GOoP score that Price might come up with.

      The CBO is all not partisan and stuff, which makes media types all tingly, so at least there is a good chance the media will follow the CBO scoring rather than Price’s. But still … if the BCRA is “saves” enough money, how long until “even the liberal media” starts supporting it?

      • aab84

        They’ve been reporting straightforwardly and well on Trumpcare for months now, even in the face of heavy Republican spin, and the CBO scores have hit the front pages of just about every local paper in the country. I don’t see why they’d stop now.

        I think a big, underrated factor here is that no one is defending the bill on the merits. It’s all procedural and political. That makes it a lot easier for the media to go after the substance of the bill. They literally can’t find anyone to go on TV and say otherwise.

    • billcinsd

      Isn’t McCain on the ACA exchange? — an amendment was added to the PPACA requiring Congress and their staffs be on the exchanges. McCain is certainly rich enough through marriage and corruption that he could probably afford excess private health insurance and that was the essential plan he proposed when he ran for President, so he may have added private care, but he and his staff must be on the exchange.

      eta: this is not meant to imply that the ACA isn’t great health insurance, but it is unlikely to be as good as the old Congressional plans were, since this was supposed to be a poison pill amendment to kill the PPACA by the Republicans, but the Democrats called their bluff and accepted the amendment

    • jmwallach

      Until McConnell gets the parliamentarian to rule that sick member changes the number of senators.

  • N__B

    Debate topic: Is this McCain’s greatest contribution to the republic?

    • Thom

      It beats bombing people in Vietnam.

      • IM

        He only tried!

      • kathy Klos

        Not cool a soldier is asked to do his duty, the Republic that asked that is to blame.

        • cpinva

          “Not cool a soldier is asked to do his duty, the Republic that asked that is to blame.”

          true enough, but then he couldn’t even do that, without fucking it up. as I noted above, the reason he got shot down, is because he disobeyed a direct order from the CO of his flight wing. of course, if it hadn’t been for daddy the admiral, he wouldn’t have been there in the first place, certainly not as a pilot.

          • Hondo

            I never heard the details of that incident, only the story of his near demise on the deck of the Forrestal. Incidentally, my cousin was on the Forrestal in the mid 70s. I once asked him about joining the Navy when I was in HS. He promptly beat my ass for even thinking about it. Worst 6 years of his life, until they paid for his Rutgers engineering degree.

    • IM

      por ahora.

      He could still die.

    • Warren Terra

      What’s in second place? His demonstrating the seriousness of purpose and grim determination with which the GOP faced the prospect of bombing Iran?

      • N__B

        I was thinking second place was reintroducing the word “trollop” to political discourse.

        • rudolf schnaubelt

          And festoon.

          • firefall

            you dont festoon your trollops with bacon rind* every year? no wonder the Republic trembles on the edge of the abyss

            *thanks, Kenneth Williams

    • mongolia

      it’s a close 2nd after getting his ass kicked by obama in ’08, allowing us the bare supermajority in the senate we needed to pass this thing.

      though you could say that’s dubya’s contribution, so this might be the greatest

    • JMP

      He insured the election of the greatest President since LBJ by choosing someone who seemed to be the most unqualified and dumbest idiot who could ever be chosen to run for national office, though the GOP ended up choosing someone even more stupid as the actual Presidential nominee just eight years later.

      • Solar System Wolf

        How soon we forget Dan Quayle.

      • Solar System Wolf

        How soon we forget Dan Quayle.

        • JMP

          Mr. Potatoe-head seems downright intellectual compared to Palin or Trump, though.

          • I have to agree. Dan Quayle is clearly just better than either Palin or Trump. He’s not good but Republicans continue their trend of making the last jaw-droppingly awful choice seem much better in retrospect by pushing someone unimaginably worse. I’m perpetually amazed by this skill. They are racing to the bottom except there seems to be no bottom!

            • N__B

              I, too, await the Alex Jones candidacy for Veep.

    • Hondo

      Only if he dies on the table.

      • Deborah Bender

        I am not a doctor, but if the surgery is of brief duration and was/is done under a local or regional anaesthetic, the chances of an old man surviving it are high.

  • malraux

    My civics understanding is weak on this point. If McCain (or another senator) dies or resigns soon, does that change the margin needed to pass legislation? Is it still 50 votes (and does it drop to 49 if 2 senators are gone)?

    • Erik Loomis

      It would have to be a tie or majority of senators voting. So in this case, it would mean 50-49 against and thus no tiebreaker to VP Torquemada

      • kathy Klos

        Nice, Where is Pence anyway? He looks looks a lot a man hiding and waiting for impeachment (of his boss). Besides however Torquemada ran a much more efficient ship of ‘state’ you are kinda insulting him. Cruel yes, inept and fool not really.

        • Erik Loomis

          He was in Rhode Island the other day lobbying governors at the National Governors Association meeting for this monstrosity of a bill.

          • kathy Klos

            Sorry missed that. Then he is sticking his neck out. Thanks.. I got 3 kids and own a bar its hard to catch the news. He still is playing a hiding game as far as I can tell: They lied to me me etc.Looks like he watched house of cards. To wrap up my other post my oldest family friend was a marine at Khe Sanh. All my family volunteered – foolish Detroit polish working class doing the right thing.

        • Sentient AI from the Future

          Well, he’s not Doug Feith level stupid, but my recollection is that he’s still pretty fucking dumb. You could do worse than to dig through the archives of the late lamented James Briggs-Stratton “Doghouse” Riley’s blog for evidence.

          • Maggielle

            Damn, I miss that guy. It’ll be four years this coming July 27.

            • Sentient AI from the Future

              I, too, miss his writing. It was probably a grace that he did not live to see the current clusterfuck horrorshow.

              • joel_hanes

                Actually, I think Doghouse was almost the only person well-prepared to endure the Era of He, Trump.

          • joel_hanes

            I happen to have one such link kept handy for just such an occasion.

            http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2013/01/back-home-again.html

          • Scott Lemieux

            My guess is that Pence is actually dumber than Feith

            • Hondo

              Quite an accomplishment if true. Dumbest fucking guy on the planet is pretty hard to beat.

        • TopsyJane

          That’s pretty much what Pence is doing, insofar as he can without being overtly disloyal. He’s already test-run some “not in the loop” lines and when the Trump Jr. thing broke his aides volunteered that he wasn’t with the campaign at the time.

          Of course, if it comes to that, Trump will shoot him before he allows Pence to take his place.

        • billcinsd

          I believe he is either going to be or was just in Lexington KY as I met some cops last week from there grumbling about his visit

      • Deborah Bender

        This is something I have been hoping/waiting for, though i don’t ill wish Senator McCain and of course the odds of it being a Democrat who drops out are about equal.

    • Murc

      It does in fact drop to 49 if two Senators are gone. The Senate can operate as a quorum with as few as fifty people present.

      There have been times in the past when quorum shenanigans have been used in both the Senate and the House. It’s very rare but it does happen. However, it usually happens along the lines of “wait until the nays are out of town or otherwise unavailable, and then have the ayes rush the chamber.” This would be the opposite, actually sending people away so they don’t have to vote at all.

      I don’t doubt the Republicans would do such a thing if they could get away with it, but the thing is “I ran away from DC like a coward to avoid being present and needing to vote” is basically the same as a “yes” vote in this context. It doesn’t actually help anyone like Collins or Heller, in fact it hurts them. The body politic tolerates outright evil more than it tolerates open cowardice for some reason.

    • Warren Terra

      You’d also have to look into Arizona’s procedures for providing a replacement; those vary state by state.

      But: McCain is expected to recover speedily and will soon be hard at work denying others access to health care.

      • Michael Cain

        Arizona statute requires that the governor appoint someone of the same political party as the Senator being replaced. Ducey, the Republican governor, says he opposes the current Senate bill based on what it does to Medicaid. I’m sure he could find someone to appoint who would vote against the bill.

  • Is a week enough time for Republicans to make it worse?

    • IM

      Perhaps enough for the CBO to make a score.

      • Hondo

        Didn’t I hear the CBO revised score comes out tomorrow?

        • Warren Terra

          I thought there was some confusion about whether and when the Cruz amendment would be scored by the CBO. It turns out that letting insurance companies sell brightly colored beads and call them “health insurance”, eligible for tax credits, is hard to score.

          • howard

            and even so, the insurance companies said “this is a loser.”

            • dmsilev

              And how bad does a proposal have to be before insurance companies look at it and say “we may be health insurance companies, but even we aren’t _that_ evil”? I guess we now have our answer.

            • NeonTrotsky

              Insurance companies are at least smart enough to realize that a health insurance death spiral would probably end them

    • cpinva

      “Is a week enough time for Republicans to make it worse?”

      they could do that in an hour. the republicans are very competent, when it comes to screwing things up. when it comes to fixing things, not so much.

    • efgoldman

      Is a week enough time for Republicans to make it worse?

      How long does it take to type an amendment?

  • Warren Terra

    To adapt (steal) a line from someone on Twitter, the situation now is that because of McCain’s hospitalization, the GOP is juggling a massive bill that they don’t know how to handle, and the results are uncertain and possibly catastrophic.

    Also, they want to place tens of millions of Americans – with the Cruz amendment possibly many tens of millions – at constant risk of being in the same situation.

    • ADM

      “the situation now is that because of McCain’s hospitalization, the GOP is juggling a massive bill that they don’t know how to handle, and the results are uncertain and possibly catastrophic.”

      That’s gold.

  • N__B

    Tomorrow’s tweet from DJT: I prefer people whose blood doesn’t clot.

    • Warren Terra

      Oh, god, more insinuations about how closely tied Trump is to Russian kleptocratic families.

      • Sentient AI from the Future

        +IX

      • N__B

        I find myself in the odd position of defending the Romanovs. Given that they were absolute monarchs, they basically owned the country, so I don’t think they were kleptocrats. They were, for the most part, petty, blood-thirsty, bigoted, idiotic monsters, but they weren’t necessarily kleptocrats.

        • tsam100

          We should all mail Trump a picture of Nicholas every day. Once he finds someone who knows who Nicholas was, his Tweets will be gold.

  • Joe Paulson

    McCain likes his employer covered health insurance

  • Paul Thomas

    My read on the situation was that they didn’t plan on pushing it through this week anyway– if they did, why cancel two weeks of the August recess?

    Obviously, it’s crucial to keep up the drumbeat of resistance– because lord knows the news media won’t– but if I was leading a protesting group, I think I’d be trying to taper up to about early August for maximum effort.

    More controversially: I am pretty well convinced that revelations about Russian collusion are being deliberately used to mask discussion of health care; the longer we can drag this s**t out, the more they’re going to have to spill to keep the media focused on Russia.

    • Abigail Nussbaum

      That would imply a level of coordination between the white house and the legislature that is so far unprecedented.

      • FlipYrWhig

        I would still like it if Democratic backbenchers were saying things like “especially until we know that this president was elected legitimately, we should not be allowing his party to ram through drastic changes to American healthcare.” Tie the two issues together. Revisit rhetoric if necessary.

        • howard

          i do not expect the democratic party to behave with the crusader unity of purpose that animates republican rhetoric, but jeez, something as obvious as this doesn’t seem like it should be too much to expect, and yet it is….

        • Denverite

          “We don’t know whether or not the Trump campaign actively collaborated with a hostile foreign power to win the 2016 election. If it did, Trump is an illegitimate president and should be impeached. And until we know the answer to that question, we should not allow him to sign major legislation that drastically impacts the American health care industry.”

          • FlipYrWhig

            Exactly! I can see why leadership might not want to sound like that but there are safe-seat liberals who could be doing it every day.

      • Paul Thomas

        It’s unprecedented for Mitch McConnell to pick up the phone and tell Trump it’d be useful if something took the media’s eye off of Obamacare?

        • Abigail Nussbaum

          It’s unprecedented for that sort of thing to work. Seriously, since when does Trump take direction, much less do it competently?

    • Murc

      My read on the situation was that they didn’t plan on pushing it through
      this week anyway– if they did, why cancel two weeks of the August
      recess?

      This may be true, but they’ve wasted so much time on this and their caucus is so dysfunctional that even if it passed right now, today, they might actually still need the extra two weeks to dynamite all the parts of the government they want to dynamite.

    • nemdam

      Oh yes, I’m sure Republicans or their sympathizers are “distracting” people from healthcare with revelations about the legitimacy of the White House.

      Seriously, this is asinine. If they want to do this, Trump has like 100 different ways he could distract the media. One of them is not revealing that he colluded with an adversarial foreign nation to win the election.

      • Scott Lemieux

        YEah, this only makes sense if you take the idiotic Greenwald line that nobody cares about Russia. Things that make Trump less popular don’t help pass the bill.

        • Paul Thomas

          Agree to disagree on that last point, I guess. I think Trump’s more than willing to sacrifice some marginal amount of popularity to mask the horrible substance of GOP “policy,” especially knowing as he does that the vast majority of his supporters are either unreachable by facts or openly revel in his improprieties.

          • efgoldman

            I think Trump’s more than willing to sacrifice some marginal amount of popularity to mask the horrible substance of GOP “policy,”

            Do NOT give Tangerine Torquemada credit for planning, strategery or tactics. He has no more idea of those things than the tantrum, spoiled, four year old he is.

      • JBC31187

        I think it’s just a side effect of the Republicans avoiding sunlight. I don’t believe any of their actual policies are popular when people pay attention, but the assholes of America are willing to go along as long as they don’t actually know what the Republicans are doing.

    • Pete

      I thought they wanted the BRCA vote this week so that they’d have some chance to move on to “tax reform”, the debt ceiling and a few other things (which are why the shortened recess).

  • Hondo

    Sounds like elective surgery. The timing is suspicious.
    A lot like the thing with Qatar that happened just after Trump was in Saudi Arabia. Convenient timing given that the Kushner deal fell through there not long ago.

  • Hondo

    Sounds like elective surgery. The timing is suspicious.
    A lot like the thing with Qatar that happened just after Trump was in Saudi Arabia. Convenient timing given that the Kushner deal fell through there not long ago.

    • Downpup E

      Is this snark? They found a blood clot over McCain’s eye.

      Kushner’s letting Yousef Al Otaiba be his Yoda is also a real thing, and probably connected with the Saudi’s correct notion that Trump would back their nonsense against Qatar.

      • Hondo

        Did I use the wrong font?

  • Terok Nor

    How about we call it the Fake Insurance Act?

  • Owlbear1

    In the last 3 months nearly all of the female staff in 4 different businesses that I have patronized for years have been let go and replaced by men.

    So regardless of what is happening in the SenateVladdy P’s Cum-Bucket Brigade, the Fascists are getting what they want.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Maybe Ben Sasse will display some of that integrity he’s always talking about and oh hahaha I can’t finish that sentence.

  • nemdam

    I make no predictions other than standing firm in my belief that the longer this drags on, the less chance Republicans have to pass it. More exposure, more CBO scores, and more grass roots resistance all reduce the chances of the bill passing since it will make it harder for the Senators who aren’t at yes to get there. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t holding my breath.

    • Well, sort of?

      If we look at the House bill, it’s clear that the combination of sweeteners, sticks, and “hey, the Senate will kill it” was eventually enough. I doubt McConnell would keep it in play if he didn’t have any hope of passing, which means there aren’t 3 firm “nos”. And we definitely have 2. There’s something on the order of 4 to 10 votes which are lean no or fragile yes. And those lean nos are fragile nos. For example, if they are the deciding vote, they are likely to fold.

      The longer it goes on, the more intense the pressure and the more (thus far) unified the caucus. If basically everyone else is complaining that they have their necks out there, it’s challenging for weak nos to stay there.

      And McConnell can play the waiting game…outrage fatigue, distraction, and just plain it’s hard to keep up attention is likely to attenuate resistance. Also, it’s quite possible for Senators to feel that they’ve hit the worst and might as well go ahead.

      Fingers crossed, though.

  • wubfur_radio
    • Warren Terra

      Note that the “Fnck you” part is undiluted (I think the Medicaid cuts maybe even got worse from the House bill to the Senate version?), and with the Cruz amendment it’s “Fnck you even more”.

  • Sean Murphy

    grrr, I know that I can’t pick a correct percentage, but birth control benefits men too.

  • ToddTheVP

    Mitch announces vacation is cancelled. John McCain, “Ooh, sorry Mitch, I think I feel a blood clot coming on ‘cough’ ‘cough.'”

  • Deborah Bender

    It hasn’t been covered much, but when McConnell announced delay of the August recess, he listed a bunch of important legislation other than this bill that needed to be passed. I heard this on MSNBC, so I don’t have a written reference handy as to what the other legislation was.

    Is either the House or the Senate working on anything of substance?

    • efgoldman

      Is either the House or the Senate working on anything of substance

      Well, let’s look!
      – The Fuck the Poor Act
      – The Fuck the Middle Class Act
      – The Lick the One-percent’s Butthole Act
      – The Purity Test for Whiteness Act
      – The Send More Jobs Overseas Act
      – The Anti-anti Emoluments Act
      – The Lying on Forms Without Being Charged with Perjury Act

      There’s more I’m sure

  • Given the ultimate consequence of Ted Kennedy’s death for the passage of the ACA, there’s a certain symmetry to McCain’s absence at the moment.

  • Joe Paulson

    Some interesting coverage on McCain’s illness and how it was reported: https://twitter.com/JimSmall/status/886644577083338752

    • applecor

      Well, at least they’re not reporting it as “excellent news for John McCain”.