The House GOP has scheduled a vote on the latest amended version of the Obamacare modification bill (to call it a repeal bill would be disingenuous) indicating that they now have the votes to pass it. A piece published in The Hill quietly hyperventilates that the bill is being fast-tracked, rushed without scoring from the Congressional Budget Office, meaning that a nonpartisan projected impact of the amendments has not been completed and publicized.
Certainly, it is preferable not to have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it, Nancy Pelosi’s personal views aside. At the same time, I can’t help but see too great an insistence by Democrats on scoring a few amendments as disingenuous.
Does anyone imagine that, were the CBO’s scoring to come back predicting more widespread coverage than Obamacare without higher premiums, or lower premiums without less extensive coverage, that the Democratic Party would suddenly vote for it? Of course not. They would criticize the results, just like they did when it didn’t say what they wanted to hear about the ACA.
They are already being disingenuous about how many people are actually at risk to be denied coverage or else are ignorant of the number. It’s not the only area in which this is the case.
CBO scoring on so-called replacement bills thus far has predicted more people would be uninsured than under Obamacare. Most “mainstream” news outlets misquote these analyses, saying that these people would lose their insurance, even though they prefer to go without it, like I lose my junk mail when I toss it in the garbage without opening it.
But it plays well — “Look, health care is complicated and Obamacare isn’t perfect but everything else is worse so status quo!” — and the Democratic Party has consistently been trounced electorally since passing the ACA to the extent that they’d prefer not to test whether post hoc is also propter hoc. Late night hosts who aren’t Jimmy Kimmel make fun of even its purported successes. The only way to make it popular enough to keep around is to conjure frightening scenarios about an Obamacare-less world. Hence why they need the CBO scoring: to subtly manipulate the results, while playing fast and loose with conservative arguments on health care policy. It is playing politics more than anything.
That said, politics must be played, and the decision by congressional Republicans to fast track the bill will be perceived as inconsistent considering how they (deservedly) mocked Pelosi for her silly comment. Right is right, and Americans are tired of a lack of transparency in Washington. Whatever the justifications and good intentions for rushing this plan to the floor, it’s bad optics and merely the latest in a series of poor decisions on health care policy by this Congress.