To have John McCain, cast the decisive vote to defeat yet another incredibly shitty bill, that most of the GOP Senators hoped would never become law. I know I was surprised by McCain’s sudden finding of a spine-given that he lacked one for about 9 years, ever since he was bamboozled by the right wing wackos into nominating an unqualified, worthless whore to be his running mate in 2008. Usually, the standard McCain modus operandi has been to voice “concern” and then vote like a party hack.
For once, however, John McCain proved everyone wrong.
In a moment of high drama on the Senate floor, the Arizona senator, stricken with brain cancer and railing against his party’s secretive legislative maneuvering, provided the decisive vote against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act. The amendment fell, 51-49, thwarting once again the GOP’s longstanding efforts to deliver on a central campaign promise. Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also voted against the bill, continuing their opposition to the GOP’s partisan repeal effort. But it was McCain who surprised the Senate, breaking with his party after earlier helping it on a key procedural vote.
Had it succeeded, the amendment would have cleared the way for passage of legislation that would set up negotiations with the House on a final bill to send to President Trump’s desk. With its failure, Republicans are once again stuck searching for a plan that can unite the party’s narrow majority in the Senate and be staring at the possibility of having to work with Democrats to modify rather than roll back the health law.
For the moment at least, millions of Americans are saved from the desire of the sick, selfish bastards who are members of the so called “Freedom Caucus” to kill them in their sleep-or at the very least deprive them of a decent life, by giving the “freedom” to not be able to get health insurance and then get sick and die.
Of course, the orange shitstain was not amused:
In the beginning, weren’t you for single-payer? https://t.co/puh0C01474
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) July 28, 2017
He can continue to sabotage the ACA, of course, but not without considerable political cost. He has the tools. Trump really didn’t care about the specifics of any bill-he just wanted to be able to tell the rubes that he “undid” the Kenyan Usurper’s signature achievement. And don’t kid yourself, Paul Ryan, the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver is still in a lather to fuck people out of health care and destroy Social Security too. He will bring up his dreadful voucher plan for Medicare in due course.
However, for the short term at least, the people of the United States actually won one for a change. And one should not diminish the fact that erstwhile Party hack John McCain took the right side and crossed the aisle ( as did Murkowski and Collins).
McCain was right in his speech the other night ( right before he belied all his lofty rhetoric by voting to let the madness proceed), when he stated clearly that, “We’re getting nothing done. All we’ve really done this year is confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. ” ( And that was a seat that Gorsuch should never had the opportunity to fill.
So it makes me wonder if there was a bit of cynical approach. The bastards in the “Freedom Caucus” who think of themselves as “true conservatives” have never liked McCain anyway. They prefer really stupid people like my Congressman, Mo Brooks. So having McCain vote no gives them someone to blame-while paying no real price for their own cruelty. And it gives the so called GOP establishment a way to face Trump and say, “We tried. Now lets get on to our real agenda of tax cuts for the rich”.
What is still really amazing to me-is how many people are rabid supporters of this effort to have insurance companies kill them. They are supporting cutting off their nose to spite their face:
Here is CDC’s ‘diabetes belt.’ Skinny repeal cuts $ for anti-diabetes programs. Notice anything about this map? https://t.co/mjoNW5Lf9C
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) July 28, 2017
Nobody ever said Trump supporters are the sharpest tools in the shed.
What should be done, of course, is that the ACA should be strengthened and allowed to achieve the potential it was never allowed to by the petty vindictiveness of the GOP during the Obama administration. All states should be required to expand Medicaid and the reinsurance payments that Marco Rubio so callously fucked over in 2014 should resume and be increased. The Brookings Institution and others have laid out good roadmaps on how to do this. The solutions are straightforward-and, to put it bluntly, just not that hard.
There are other ways to shore up Obamacare. Including a public option in the marketplaces would increase competitive pressure. A public option means having the federal government offering insurance plans, providing an additional choice (or choices, if the government offers multiple plans). If plans included more doctors and hospitals in their networks, it might pull more expensive patients from private plans, reducing the risks.
Another idea is to require insurers to participate in broad regions, which would limit their ability to selectively work in more profitable ones and shun ones that are less so, like rural areas. This would be consistent with Medicare Part D, which requires insurers that offer stand-alone drug plans to do so in multistate regions.
Yet another approach is to increase the penalty for eschewing coverage, which for many people is cheaper than buying insurance. Here again, we could look to Medicare, which includes penalties — which grow the longer one waits — for failing to enroll in coverage for physician services or drugs.
The government could also offer the FEHB to employers who did not want to administer their own health care insurance, all they would have to do is pay premiums at the Federal formula ( employers pay 66% and employees pay 33%). FEHB premiums are reasonable and the administrative costs are low.
The problem is that these solutions require a Congress and a populace that actually understands health care as a moral obligation of a just society. Americans, being, by and large, the selfish, spoiled children they are, don’t understand that yet-and probably won’t until some of the worst ideas in American politics are thoroughly eviscerated. I am not holding my breath on that.
“To have a great sense of solidarité among the people,” former Swiss president Pascal Couchepin told me, “all must have an equal right—and particularly, a right to medical care. Because it is a profound need for people to be sure, if they are struck by the stroke of destiny, they can have a good health system.”
That principle seems so obvious to people in Europe, Canada, and the East Asian democracies that health officials asked me over and over to explain why it isn’t obvious to Americans as well. “The formula is so simple: health care for everybody, paid for by everybody,” a deputy health minister in Sweden told me. “You Americans are so clever. Why haven’t you figured that out?”