This is a disgrace.
This may come as a shock to you, but it turns out that Senate Republicans’ master plan to spend weeks drafting a health care reform bill in secret—mysteriously keeping it hidden even from fellow Republican legislators!—did not result in, as President Trump put it, a bill that was any less “mean” than the House’s proposal. In some ways, in fact, this bill is even crueler than the House’s version, which is already prompting furious crowds to peacefully assemble outside Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington today. The sight of Americans being physically removed from their wheelchairs and removed from the scene is profoundly hard to watch.
Most of those assembled said that they received health care coverage through Medicaid, which provides government-subsidized health insurance to disabled Americans. The Affordable Care Act expanded the program’s criteria to extend its benefits for the first time to millions of low-income Americans, too. The Senate’s bill, as it currently stands, would slash Medicaid even more thoroughly than the House has proposed to do.
It used to be the case that when things like this would happen, my reaction would be something optimistic and West Wing-y, like, “No. This is absurd. We are better than this.” Right now, though, thirteen senators are working around the clock to pass what they’re only able to call a health care “reform” bill because dismantling something is a type of “reform,” at least in the most technical and cynical sense of the word. And when those with the most at stake—people who will literally be in danger if Republicans get their way—showed up to make themselves heard, they learned in short order how little Mitch McConnell cares about their voices or values their lives. I still want to believe that America is better than this. But it’s getting harder every day to make that argument convincingly anymore.