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Half A Healthcare Bill

May Not Be Better Than None

One of my students pointed me to Caleb Howe at Red State as the conservative blogger to follow if I were inclined to follow a conservative blogger. He was right. And frankly, my fellow libtards and feminazis? I would find some conservative bloggers to follow too if I were you, because things are unraveling in Paul Ryan’s Boys Town and our right-wing blog buddies have a few things to say about it.

This morning, for example, Howe renamed the new American Health Care Act (AHCA) the “`Republican Participation Trophy’ Health Care Plan.” You know what he is talking about: those youth sports tournaments organized by candy-ass liberals and pansies where every kid gets a prize just for participating? The Party of Winners and Losers hate-hate-hates bull puckey activities where six year-olds are shielded from the hard fact that everyone can’t win the Game of Life. Despite having had eight years to produce an alternative, Howe points out, Paul Ryan’s Congress, has slapped together a bill that is so universally disliked among Republicans and Democrats that it has a super-slim chance of making it past Senate scrutiny. And they want a prize just for trying.

The verdict? “When you do something half-assed,” Howe writes, you don’t get a trophy, “you get half-assed returns on it.” he continues:

If we are going to get a bill that doesn’t repeal Obamacare, isn’t market-based, isn’t conservative, and in the end, leaves 24 million more people without coverage than the existing non-market-based, non-conservative plan … why bother? As Jay pointed out yesterday when the news broke, the first and most important question the GOP has to answer is “how is your plan better when 14 million people will lose their coverage?”

Seems to me they want a participation trophy. They want to say they took on healthcare. They want to say they replaced Obamacare. Trump wants to say he followed through on his second-biggest promise of the campaign. He didn’t “lock her up” and he’s already caved on DACA. They want to spin a win.

You said it, my new conservative brother.

Howe also isn’t fooled by the rhetorical strategy Ryan and Donald Trump have been using since November 9: that they have a lot of ideas, and a great plan — they just can’t tell us what any of it is yet! But it’s great! And exciting! And why should we believe that ACHA will be ok? Because, according to Ryan, should many of the people who lose their insurance live to see the day when they can go to the doctor and buy a prescription again, the parts of the legislation that exclude the poor and high risk patients will be fixed. They swear this is true: “they are going to give us “phase two” and “phase three” later on,” Howe reports skeptically. Of course what is in these other phases, what they would fix, and why those things can’t be fixed now, is a mystery. “That, friends, is what you call a mess,” Howe writes. “Nice job, guys.”

Since the branches of government now function without communicating with each other except on Twitter, in a parallel communications strategy, many of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump are now getting emails from him as if we did. People in my Facebook filter bubble are deeply confused by this. Having perhaps purchased our email addresses from one of those online petitions that were circulating like space junk in the aftermath of the election, these emails ask us for our stories about how we were harmed by the ACA. The subject line also suggests that I will receive these emails every day until and unless I unsubscribe. I doubt I will do this, as these emails are fodder for endless blog posts. Furthermore, like my mother, who was raised in the Mountain West where dangerous reptiles abound, said recently, the Trump administration is “like a basket of snakes; you can’t not look.” But please note: this email also has crucial information. It promises that under the AHCA  — which explicitly raises prices for my age bracket and offers Slim Jim policies that will pay for nothing — I will have increased coverage and lower costs!

Can it be that no one at The White House has read the bill? Or that they have another, better, secret bill that has yet to be revealed or shared with Paul Ryan? Or is this just another complicated communications strategy cooked up by Kellyanne Conway in her microwave?

Claire Potter is Executive Editor at Public Seminar and Professor of History at The New School. You can follow her on Twitter.

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