It’s Friday night so you shouldn’t need a reason to drink. But in case you do, here you go.
Am I right that “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it” is the second-most famous quote of the ObamaCare era? It’s not quite Lie Of The Year material, but it’s etched in granite somewhere in the museum of infamous political statements. Right next to Paul Ryan and the GOP insisting eight thousand times since 2010 that they’d “repeal” ObamaCare, rather than tinker with the subsidies, when they finally had the chance.
Dear Speaker Ryan,
This week, the Committees on Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means will be marking up Republicans’ long-feared bill to dismantle affordable health care. The GOP legislation will have life or death consequences for tens of millions of families across America, and extraordinary impacts on state and federal budgets long into the future.
The American people and Members have a right to know the full impact of this legislation before any vote in Committee or by the whole House.
Members must not be asked to vote on this legislation before the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation have answered the following questions about your legislation in 2018 and 2019, over the 10-year budget window, and in the decade after: How will this bill measure up to the Affordable Care Act and current Medicaid law on coverage, quality, and cost? And how will it impact Medicare solvency?
Pelosi 2017 makes a fair point, never mind that CBO’s projections about ObamaCare were, ah, a little off. What’s the rush to pass something, as Tom Cotton might say? Ryan’s presentation yesterday was designed, I think, partly to draw a contrast with her notorious “pass the bill to find out what’s in it” soundbite. Allow me to show you myself what’s in the bill, Ryan was saying, replete with nifty charts and graphs. Which is nice, but doesn’t explain the urgency in ramming it through committee for a quickie vote in the House and a take-it-or-leave-it offer in the Senate. That smells suspiciously of trying to get the law on the books before independent analysts, starting with CBO, have had a chance to dig in and assess the bill’s flaws. Which … is a bit like passing the bill in order to find out what’s in it. And needless to say, if millions of older middle-class Americans suddenly see their tax credits slashed under the new system and can’t pay their premiums, they’re going to feel like the bill was passed without knowing what was in it. And they’re the ones who matter.
But maybe this is destiny in a country of 300 million people for a policy matrix as complex as health coverage. To some extent, you’re always going to have to wait until the bill passes to know exactly how it’ll affect people. Good luck, GOP! Exit quotation from Pelosi: “If Hillary had won, I was ready to go home.” Thanks, Trump.