The GOP Is Desperately Trying to Pass their Healthcare Bill in Secret
By: Kayla Pasacreta
When Donald Trump was running for President, one of his main selling points was his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “ObamaCare”). The bill, which defunds Planned Parenthood, has an insane list of preexisting conditions, gives tax breaks to the wealthy, and is expected to take away healthcare from at least 23 million Americans. To read more about the policy in the AHCA, read here.
As described by the New Republic, “Rather than run draft legislation through an open committee process, Republicans have outsourced the entire deliberation to 13 male senators from 10 states.” And according to NBC News, “Republicans are preparing for a marathon of votes on their Obamacare repeal starting next week. There's no written bill yet, and there isn't even an agreement that has leadership comfortable they have 50 votes to pass a bill.” This is leading people to wonder: what in this proposed bill is so pressing for GOP leaders to insist on making it so secret? This bill is so secretive that even many Republicans in Congress don’t know many logistics of it. MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes has said that he cannot find a single GOP senator willing to defend the bill on his television show.
There isn’t any official rule that the Senate has to make the bill public. But, it does go against the traditional idea of a democracy, and raises concern about the practices the GOP is doing in the dark. According to the New Republic, “Republicans could pass a bill nobody has had time to read, with 50 votes, and, pending action in the House of Representatives, it would become the law we all live under.” When Democrats were drafting the Affordable Care Act, many were eager to talk about it on television, and give Americans an understanding of why it was so beneficial. Many Republicans have hated Obamacare from day one in 2009, so why are they not pride fully boasting their new, supposedly more effective, alternative?
Senator Orrin Hatch stated, “Well, I think we’re not worried so much about that as we are getting it together so we can get a majority to vote for it.” Oddly enough, President Trump referred to the health care bill as “mean” – a comment that onfused many, and complicates the GOP’s quest to gain support for the bill.
Even if the bill does get passed, there will mostly like be a public outcry after the consequences from it are revealed to the public. Business Insider has estimated the bill will cause at least one million people to lose jobs.
On Monday night, Democratic senators held the floor all day until 1 A.M. as a form of protest for the bill, and to bring attention to the fact that it’s being crafted in the dark. The Senate Democrats insist on not doing “business as usual” to stall the GOP’s efforts to pass the bill, and to force them to talk about the bill in public.
The GOP can only afford to lose two votes for their bill to pass. Zero Democrats are expected to support the bill. There are ten Republican senators who are undecided about the bill.