Now that the U.S. House Of Representatives, a swirling vortex of lobbyists and guys who did thousands of chest bumps in their college fraternities, has passed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and then celebrated by cackling at the thought of watching millions lose their coverage and die for the sake of a slight reduction in taxes (though not while chugging Bud Light, let us remember), it’s time for the Senate to take action. This more elite and august body was constructed by the founding fathers to act as a check upon the passions of the more impulsive body of legislators in the lower house, a means whereby, “We pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it,” George Washington is reputed to have said. Certainly, pouring it out of the boiling cauldron of enfant terribles who crafted a health care bill so shitty, those same sponsors made sure to exempt themselves from its regulations, is probably a wise idea.
Naturally, given the tempestuous nature of this debate, it’s important to have the wise and sage elected officials of the Senate put their heads together and come up with a superior version of the bill. Because when a president so mean he publicly mocks the handicapped says your bill is “mean, mean, mean,” it’s smart to revisit some of its components. So these esteemed congresspeople have been drafting their own version, reportedly just taking the house version and messing around with it in hopes of coming up with something that makes them look less like assholes. And given there is literally not a single state that favors the bill, there must surely be some changes and improvements made on this bill that is supposedly being voted on very soon, right?
According to a series of interviews conducted by Vox, not so much. The site spoke with eight Republican senators, all of whom happily went on the record to give a series of answers to simple, elementary-level questions about what’s in their version of the bill—or even just what they hope is in their version of the bill, basic things they might want it to include—and every single one tap-danced like it was the climax of On The Town.
- Chuck Grassley says that passing a bill will “give health insurance companies certainty,” and when Vox’s Jeff Stein replies with, “Wouldn’t not passing a bill also do that?”, Grassley responds, “No, it… well, yeah.”
- John Boozman says the problem with Obamacare was that it had nothing to drive down costs (because the right made him strip out the public option, he apparently doesn’t recall), and when asked how their bill would fix that, retorts, “that’s what we’re trying to work through.”
- Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MI) gives a list of things he wants the bill to do—eliminate mandates, cut taxes, moderate prices—and is then asked how their new bill will help the marketplaces do that. “For the reasons I’m giving you. A very comprehensive answer, I think.”
It just goes on like that. In the face of cruel and life-ending Machiavellian ideas to strip Americans of the meager protections they possess, to treat being a woman as a pre-existing condition, and to transfer the burden of paying for all of it onto the backs of the poorest and most needy in the country, the alternative is literally people who have no ideas at all.